Network based systems

Steps to ensure a network is secure

In recent years, blockchain platforms have become the centerpiece of many tech conversations around the world. Indeed, the technology is not only at the heart of nearly every cryptocurrency in existence today, but also supports a range of independent applications. In this regard, it should be noted that the use of blockchain has infiltrated a host of new industries, including banking, finance, supply chain management, healthcare, and gaming, among others. .

Due to this growing popularity, discussion of blockchain audits has increased dramatically, and rightly so. Although blockchains enable decentralized peer-to-peer transactions between individuals and businesses, they are not immune to hacking and third-party infiltration issues.

Just a few months ago, miscreants were able to breach the gaming-focused blockchain platform, the Ronin Network, to finally claw their way in with over $600 million. Similarly, late last year, blockchain-based platform Poly Network fell victim to a hacking scheme that cost the ecosystem over $600 million in user assets.

There are several common security issues associated with current blockchain networks.

The Existing Blockchain Security Conundrum

Even though blockchain technology is known for its high level of security and privacy, there have been many instances where the networks contained flaws and vulnerabilities related to insecure integrations and interactions with third-party apps and servers.

Similarly, some blockchains also suffer from functional issues, including vulnerabilities in their native smart contracts. At this point, sometimes smart contracts – pieces of self-executing code that automatically execute when certain predefined conditions are met – have certain errors that make the platform vulnerable to hackers.

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Finally, some platforms run applications that have not undergone the necessary security assessments, making them potential points of failure that could compromise the security of the entire network at a later stage. Despite these glaring issues, many blockchain systems have yet to undergo a major security check or independent security audit.

How are blockchain security audits conducted?

Although several automated audit protocols have emerged in the market in recent years, they are nowhere near as effective as security experts manually using the tools at their disposal to perform a detailed audit of a blockchain network.

Blockchain code audits are carried out in a very systematic way, so that each line of code contained in the smart contracts of the system can be duly verified and tested using a static code analysis program. Below are the key steps associated with the blockchain audit process.

Establish the objective of the audit

There is nothing worse than a misguided blockchain security audit, as it can not only lead to a lot of confusion regarding the inner workings of the project, but also drain time and resources. Therefore, to avoid ending up with a lack of clear direction, it is best for companies to clearly define what they seek to achieve through their audit.

As its name suggests quite clearly, a security audit aims to identify the main risks potentially affecting a system, network or technology stack. During this stage of the process, developers typically refine their goals based on which area of ​​their platform they want to assess most rigorously.

In addition, it is preferable that the auditor as well as the company in question define a clear action plan which must be followed throughout the duration of the operation. This can help prevent the safety assessment from getting lost and the best possible outcome emerging from the process.

Identify the key components of the blockchain ecosystem

Once the fundamental objectives of the audit have been set in stone, the next step is usually to identify the key components of the blockchain as well as its various data flow channels. During this phase, the audit teams thoroughly analyze the platform’s native technology architecture and its associated use cases.

When participating in a smart contract analysis, auditors first analyze the current version of the system’s source code to ensure a high degree of transparency during the final stages of the audit trail. This step also allows analysts to distinguish between different versions of code that have already been audited against any new changes that may have been made to it since the start of the process.

Isolate key issues

It’s no secret that blockchain networks consist of nodes and application programming interfaces (APIs) connected to each other using private and public networks. Since these entities are responsible for performing data relay and other basic transactions within the network, auditors tend to study them in detail, performing a variety of tests to ensure that there is no There are no digital leaks present in their respective frames.

Threat modeling

One of the most important aspects of a thorough blockchain security assessment is threat modeling. In its most basic sense, threat modeling makes it easier and more accurate to uncover potential issues, such as data theft and data tampering. It can also help isolate any potential denial of service attacks while exposing any data manipulation risks that may exist.

Solving the problems in question

Once a thorough breakdown of all potential threats related to a particular blockchain network has been done, auditors typically employ some white hat (to the ethics) hacking techniques to exploit exposed vulnerabilities. This is done in order to assess their severity and potential long-term impacts on the system. Finally, the auditors suggest corrective measures that can be used by developers to better secure their systems against any potential threat.

Blockchain audits are essential in today’s economic climate

As mentioned earlier, most blockchain audits begin by analyzing the basic architecture of the platform to identify and eliminate likely security flaws from the initial design itself. Following this, a review of the technology at play and its governance framework is carried out. Finally, auditors seek to identify issues with smart contacts and applications and study APIs and SDKs associated with blockchain. Once all these steps have been completed, a security clearance is given to the company, signaling its readiness for the market.

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Blockchain security audits are of great importance for any project, as they identify and eliminate security flaws and unpatched vulnerabilities that may haunt the project at a later stage in its life cycle. .


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