Methodology for Smart Contract Auditing

A comprehensive methodology for smart contract auditing involves a meticulous and iterative process, embodying a hacker’s mindset with persistence, belief in the process, and continuous improvement through review, reflection, and repetition. The process includes:

  • Questioning Everything: Approach the audit with a mindset of questioning all assumptions and goals.
  • Hacker Mindset: Employ persistence, believe in the audit process, iterate findings, and constantly review and reflect to improve the audit quality.
  • Audit Preparation: Gather all necessary documentation and codebase for a thorough review.
  • Information Gathering: Compile all documentation, code, and any other relevant information.
  • Review Documentation: Understand the project’s scope, functionality, and architecture through its documentation.
  • Basic Code Review: Perform an initial review of the code, tagging areas of interest with “@audit” tags for deeper investigation.
  • Code Comparison: For projects forked from others or previously audited versions, identify and notate differences.
  • Testing Review: Examine existing unit and integration tests and assess test coverage to identify potential areas not adequately tested.
  • Project Building and Testing: Build the project and run tests to ensure functionality and identify any immediate issues.
  • Comprehensive Documentation Review: Include a full review of all collected information and documentation.
  • Static Analysis: Use automated tools to perform static analysis on the codebase.
  • Focused Code Reviews: Conduct a multiple passes, performing detailed code reviews, incorporating the results of static analysis and adding any new “@audit” tags as necessary.
  • Utilize Heuristics: Leverage heuristics to identify potential vulnerabilities and areas of concern.
  • Bug Hunting: Systematically explore the code based on “@audit” tags to uncover vulnerabilities.
  • In-Depth Testing: Perform in-depth testing, including stateless and stateful fuzzing, to identify potential vulnerabilities. Focus on previously identifyies areas of concern
  • Iterative Process: Iterate through the process, reviewing and reflecting on findings, and repeating the process as necessary.
  • Develop POCs: Develop proof-of-concepts (POCs) for identified vulnerabilities to demonstrate their impact.
  • Report Writing: Compile all findings into a comprehensive report, including a detailed description of the vulnerabilities, their impact, and recommendations for remediation.
  • Client Communication: Communicate findings and recommendations to the client, providing an opportunity for clarification and discussion.
  • Mitigation and Remediation: Work with the client to address and remediate identified vulnerabilities.
  • Final Report and Review: Provide a final report to the client, including any updates based on mitigation and remediation efforts.

This methodology underscores the importance of a thorough, iterative approach to smart contract auditing, leveraging both a detailed understanding of the project and a creative, persistent mindset to identify vulnerabilities.