Secure Code Review – The Best Practices

Nearly two years ago, a hosting provider deleted his entire company because of a small mistake. The mistake, you ask? A single destructive line of code.

For weeks, you’ve been working on the development of your application, integrating security features where necessary. You are nearing your final deployment date, and you feel that your app is ready to go.

Think again. You might be missing a crucial step in making sure that your app does what you meant for it to do—a secure code review.

Locked and Coded

Simply put, a secure code review is the process to identify and rectify any potential and definite security vulnerabilities in the code, particularly that written at the end-stage of the application life cycle. It serves as a final check of sorts; you need to make sure that all features of your code are functional and devoid of any security flaws.

Here are a few secure code best practice tips to find and overcome any constraints in your app.

¥ Make sure the coding team follows one review checklist

Errors occur when inconsistency exists in a team working on the same application—including project managers, designers, developers and reviewers. It is also important that the entire team participates in creative meetings, and developer and reviewers collaborate to avoid neglecting secure coding practices.

¥ Refrain from pointing fingers at the development team

It’s not uncommon for reviewers to initiate a blame game, singling out developers and breathing down their necks for making the mistakes. This attitude only creates communication barriers between the developers and security reviewers, and ends up affecting the app’s performance.

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If a developer is making mistakes, introduce a security education program to minimise risk of code errors in an effective manner. Facilitate their security training in a practical way and work to promote a healthy relationship within the team.

¥ Review code at each significant change

Gone are the days when the only SDLC (software development life cycle) style followed was the waterfall style. A spiral, iterative SDLC is the modern app development team’s ideal working process. After each meaningful change in the code, re-review its security.

It takes one line of code to change the functionality of the entire program. Minimise wasted time and risk of losses by reviewing the app in chunks.

¥ Combine manual and machine code reviews

Automated review tools are pretty awesome, and save time and effort. However, even in this day and age of highly-advanced tech, there’s nothing quite as capable of detecting issues with the logical aspect of the code as the human brain.

That said, the best way to approach secure code review is combining manual review and technological analysis. Utilise your review team’s expertise to test the complex, valuable segments of the application code, and leave the rest to automated tools.

To make sure your application app’s security is completely insusceptible to vulnerabilities, go for professional web application testing services. We offer top-notch vulnerability scanning service for web and mobile applications.

Reach out to us to us learn more!