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Auditing Process: Comprehensive Auditing for Secure Smart Contracts

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

"Trust but verify." - Ronald Reagan

Smart contracts are built on the principle of trust, but it's always wise to verify. As the usage and adoption of smart contracts continue to increase, so do the risks associated with them. Therefore, it's crucial to conduct a comprehensive audit of smart contracts to ensure their security and compliance with industry standards.


In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of auditing smart contracts, the different types of smart contract audits, and the auditing process. We'll also highlight some essential tools and resources that can help streamline the auditing process and improve the quality of smart contract audits. So let's dive in!




The smart contract auditing process typically involves four main stages: audit planning and preparation, audit execution and analysis, documentation and evidence gathering, and reporting and remediation. Let's take a closer look at each stage.


Audit Planning and Preparation

Before the audit begins, the auditor must first understand the smart contract's purpose, functionality, and requirements. The auditor must also identify the potential risks and threats associated with the smart contract and determine the scope of the audit.

During this stage, the auditor should also establish the audit objectives, define the audit plan, and set up communication channels with the smart contract development team.

  • Define audit scope and objectives

  • Assign team roles and responsibilities

  • Develop audit methodology and testing plan

  • Schedule audit timeline and milestones

Example: For auditing a DeFi smart contract, the audit scope and objectives may include analyzing the contract's code, identifying potential vulnerabilities, and verifying the contract's compliance with regulatory requirements.

Tools: Some of the popular tools used for audit planning and preparation include Microsoft Project, GanttProject, and Trello.

Use Case: An example of an audit planning and preparation use case is an audit of a DeFi smart contract, which would involve defining the audit scope and objectives, assigning team roles and responsibilities, developing an audit methodology and testing plan, and scheduling an audit timeline and milestones.

Git Repository: Some examples of Git repositories that provide guidance on audit planning and preparation include OpenZeppelin's Smart Contract Security Audit Checklist and ConsenSys Diligence's Smart Contract Audit Checklist.

Potential Attacks: Inadequate planning and preparation could lead to missed vulnerabilities or issues, which could result in significant financial losses for users.


Audit Execution and Analysis

During the audit execution and analysis stage, the auditor will perform a detailed review of the smart contract's code and functionality. The auditor will analyze the smart contract's logic and algorithms, review its compliance with industry standards, and identify any security vulnerabilities or errors.

The auditor will use various tools and techniques, including manual and automated testing, to identify and evaluate the smart contract's weaknesses and strengths.


  • Review contract code and design documents

  • Identify and prioritize potential vulnerabilities and issues

  • Conduct vulnerability testing and analysis

  • Verify contract compliance with regulatory requirements

Example: In the audit execution and analysis stage, an auditor may review the DeFi smart contract's code and design documents, analyze the contract's functionality, and identify potential vulnerabilities such as reentrancy attacks or input validation issues.

Tools: Popular tools used for audit execution and analysis include MythX, Securify, and Manticore.

Use Case: An example of an audit execution and analysis use case is an audit of a DeFi smart contract, which would involve reviewing the contract's code and design documents, identifying and prioritizing potential vulnerabilities and issues, conducting vulnerability testing and analysis, and verifying the contract's compliance with regulatory requirements.

Git Repository: Some examples of Git repositories that provide guidance on audit execution and analysis include OpenZeppelin's Smart Contract Security Audit Checklist and MythX's Smart Contract Auditing Tools.

Potential Attacks: Inadequate execution and analysis could lead to missed vulnerabilities or issues, which could result in significant financial losses for users.


Documentation and Evidence Gathering

In this stage, the auditor will document all findings, observations, and recommendations resulting from the audit. The auditor will also collect evidence to support their conclusions, including screenshots, code snippets, and test results.

It is important to note that the documentation and evidence gathering stage is crucial as it provides a clear and concise record of the audit process and the auditor's findings. This documentation can be used to inform any necessary remediation actions and to provide evidence of the audit to stakeholders.

  • Maintain detailed documentation of audit process and results

  • Record all evidence and findings

  • Identify and report on issues and recommendations

  • Maintain open communication with project team

Example: An auditor may maintain detailed documentation of the DeFi smart contract audit process and results, record all evidence and findings, identify and report on issues and recommendations, and maintain open communication with the project team.

Tools: Popular tools used for documentation and evidence gathering include Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and JIRA.

Use Case: An example of a documentation and evidence gathering use case is an audit of a DeFi smart contract, which would involve maintaining detailed documentation of the audit process and results, recording all evidence and findings, identifying and reporting on issues and recommendations, and maintaining open communication with the project team.

Git Repository: Some examples of Git repositories that provide guidance on documentation and evidence gathering include ConsenSys Diligence's Smart Contract Audit Report Template and the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Guide to Conducting Risk Assessments.

Potential Attacks: Inadequate documentation and evidence gathering could make it difficult to track and resolve issues, which could result in significant financial losses for users.


Reporting and Remediation

Finally, the auditor will prepare and present a comprehensive report that summarizes the audit findings, observations, and recommendations. The report should include an executive summary, detailed audit results, and a prioritized list of recommendations for remediation.

The smart contract development team can then use the audit report to prioritize and address any identified vulnerabilities or errors. The report can also be used to communicate the smart contract's security status to stakeholders and potential users.

Reporting

  • Summary of findings and recommendations

  • Description of identified issues

  • Risk level of identified issues

  • Detailed explanation of the impact of identified issues

  • Mitigation recommendations

  • Conclusion

Git Repos:

  • OpenZeppelin Contracts Audit: A smart contract audit report for the OpenZeppelin smart contract library.

  • Aave Protocol Audit: A smart contract audit report for the Aave lending protocol.

Remediation

  • Prioritize the identified issues based on their risk level and impact

  • Develop a plan to address the identified issues

  • Implement the plan to address the identified issues

  • Test the changes thoroughly to ensure that the vulnerabilities have been addressed

  • Deploy the updated smart contract

Git Repos:

  • Compound Protocol Security: A repository of smart contract updates made to address security vulnerabilities in the Compound protocol.

  • MakerDAO Audit: A repository of smart contract updates made to address security vulnerabilities in the MakerDAO protocol.

As smart contract usage continues to grow, it is essential to conduct comprehensive audits to ensure security, compliance, and overall reliability. At Foxolabs, we understand the importance of auditing and have developed a robust auditing process to help developers build secure smart contracts. By following our auditing process and leveraging the latest tools and techniques, developers can ensure their smart contracts are secure, compliant, and ready for the real world. With the right approach to auditing, we can help build a more secure and trustworthy blockchain ecosystem for everyone.


Thank you for reading this blog. If you're interested in learning more about smart contract auditing, be sure to check out the rest of our series on the Smart Contract Audit Roadmap. You can find the links to the other blogs in the series on our main page

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