When software is being developed, even a small mistake can lead to critical vulnerabilities in the software, compromising the security of the software and network. Organizations have to make sure that the software is error-free before the application is shipped.
Many times, it won't be just a single error that leads to software vulnerabilities, but a sequence of errors. For instance, there might be an error in the code written and somehow it goes unnoticed. Later, the available defense mechanisms are unable to stop an attack launched on the system.
Experts agree that the ultimate way of having secure software applications is to build security in the application code.
To avoid errors going unnoticed in the code, a source code analysis is performed. This is a process in which the developers and architects meet. These experts have the know-how of vulnerabilities and have an understanding of code and architecture.
Code review is done to ensure that secure coding practices are being used during the development of the application. This is true for applications built in-house as well as for applications that have been bought from an outside contractor.
During the code analysis process, the developers and architect discuss how the code is written. During the meeting, developers will explain to each other their written codes. This helps in identification of any problems and also helps the developers in coming up with solutions for any existing dilemmas.
There are many benefits of performing a code analysis, the foremost of which is a financial incentive for companies. A tested, high-quality application will have less chance of leading to a security breach and the consequential financial repercussions. It is much less expensive to fix any vulnerability in the development cycle than to fix it later on when the code has been sent for production.
With the implementation of code reviews, an organization benefits by complying with several initiatives such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). Code review is also helpful for internet-facing web applications.
A code review will identify if the application is susceptible to different attacks such as SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF). The code review will also identify an improper error handling, which can leak useful technical information to an attacker. It will also see if there are any sensitive files that are web-accessible and can be downloaded by attackers.
Hence, organizations should invest in core reviews to ensure that the applications they ship are bug-free.