Quill Audits — The Smart Contract Security Audit Platform

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Quill Audits is a smart contract analysis platform provided by QuillHash Technologies. It’s a fully automated platform for getting smart contracts checked for security vulnerabilities as well as efficiency of code.

Quill Audits architecture

What’s contract auditing?

Smart contracts are logical codes that run over blockchain networks and govern the back-end functioning of decentralized applications. So, its essential for smart contracts to be secure as well as efficient enough to create a sustainable decentralized ecosystem. Often (accidentally) in the history of Ethereum, security holes in smart contracts might not have been taken care of and therefore have caused enough damage.

The Ethereum network is dark and full of terrors

Once a smart contract has been deployed on the blockchain network, its immutable and therefore security obviously being the foremost priority, it’s absolutely essential for a contract to be audited carefully before being actually deployed on the main Ethereum network. The smart contract auditing process can be lengthy and difficult enough depending on the heaviness of the platform (for example, its essential for escrow contracts to be well scrutinized before deployment for public use) or the availability of the platform (there’s much more security in private / authorized blockchain networks rather than ĐApps on main Ethereum network). Automated contract auditing tools scan through the contract to find if any commonly encountered security vulnerability exists. So, according to the seriousness of the platform, there’s often need of manual auditing beyond automated security analysis. Not only that, automated contract auditing tools analyze the gas usage of the each and every action within the smart contract and helps suggest optimizations and efficiency improvements. Gas cost in the Ethereum network is a vital parameter measuring the reach and affordability and thereby the long-term sustainability of the decentralizedĐApp platform.

How can (or cannot) audit platforms help?

Automated audit platforms are built to analyze smart contract codes based on the writing style, variable declarations, deep-loops, edge-cases handling, variable modifiers, living status of a contract before / after actions. Crucial factors to be taken care of while auditing a smart contract are to ensure there are no breaking points of the contract (e.g. malicious function calls, undesirable altering of variable states, locking up of cryptos within the contract for indefinite time, crypto theft, leakage of sensitive details) and the contract is viable enough to be used by users of the platform (e.g. gas costs mustn’t be high enough to reduce affordability).

Nevertheless, its essential to state that a smart contract can never be asserted to be 100% secure. There have been cases where even programming language-level bugs or hardware-level exploits can lead to exposed security vulnerabilities. But obvious steps that must be taken to ensure best security practices:

  • Extensively written test cases — Test cases for smart contracts are essentially written to evaluate how the smart contract performs under worst case conditions and verify if all the functionalities of the contract are working as expected.
  • Bug Bounty programs — Its essential for smart contracts to be allowed to be penetration-tested by professionals before being actually deployed. Bug bounties generally offer high rewards for finding critical bugs in contracts.
  • Automated Security Audit — Automated security audits pave the way for getting contract audited and vulnerability-verified at much lesser costs. However this type of security audits might not always be the last one to trust in case of serious business applications.
  • Manual Security Audit — Blockchain professionals as well penetration-testers are well-versed with all the kinds of smart contract vulnerabilities that may arise in worst cases and often help out with enhancing efficiency of smart contracts through better code organizing and using efficient data structures.

Some teams might consider to do the security auditing themselves, or availing automated security audits or getting manual expert auditing done at a higher cost. As a first rule of the thumb for blockchain developers, it’s advisable to always keep track of the latest developments in the programming language (making note of newly introduced and enhanced functionalities as well as deprecated functionalities), keeping code highly modular and separately concerned.

Quill Audits vs other platforms

Oyente for Ethereum is currently a trusted automated open-source smart-contract analysis tool. Quill Audits uses Oyente back-end to analyze contracts under-the-hood and return analysis results. Also, it uses Solidity-Coverage to provide code coverage tools to analyze if there are are redundant lines of code by running unit tests. Often, redundant lines of code are required to be replaced / removed. Quill Audits is powered by Node.js and is an extremely fast and usable tool for smart contract security analysis. Other good players in the security audit market include Solidified, Hosho, Cinder.cloud and quite many.

Convinced? Request your contract security audit now!

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