Systemic security issues in blockchain projects often appear early in development. Without an initial focus on security, projects may choose flawed architectures or make insecure design or development choices that result in hard-to-maintain or vulnerable solutions. Traditional security reviews can be used to identify some security issues, but by the time they are complete, it may be too late to fix some of the issues that could have been addressed at the design and development stages.

To help clients identify and address potential security issues earlier in the project, Trail of Bits is rolling out a new service: Early Stage Security Review. The service, already requested by many of our clients, is ideal for early-stage projects seeking feedback, where code, documentation, testing, and technical solutions are still evolving. As part of the service, Trail of Bits engineers will perform a thorough review of a project, including:

  • Architectural components review
  • Risk mitigation analysis
  • Identification of gaps in security practices
  • Code maturity evaluation
  • Tailored design recommendations
  • Lightweight code review of critical project areas
  • Actionable advice, recommendations, and next steps to improve the project’s security

Fix potential issues before they become real problems

Early stage security review provides an all-encompassing security assessment of your project’s design and structure, designed to guide developers and security decisions throughout the project’s lifecycle. We leverage years of code review experience accumulated across various domains—including smart contracts, bridges, decentralized finance, and gaming applications—to guide your project’s development with security as a primary focus. We’ll also apply our deep expertise in blockchain nodes (L1 and L2), especially those based on geth.

Our early-stage review of your project will focus on identifying areas of improvement that will include:

  • Architectural components review. We will assess architectural choices for risks, review access controls for proper privilege separation, propose changes to simplify code complexity, ensure the advertised degree of decentralization is accurate, recommend on-chain/off-chain logic separation, and evaluate the upgradeability process, including migration and pausable mechanisms.
  • Risk mitigation analysis. We will identify existing risks and suggest mitigations, ensuring that MEV and Oracle risks are considered. We will assess the protocol’s reliance on blockchain risks (e.g., reorgs). We will examine the handling of common ERCs, and evaluate third-party component integration risks.
  • Identification of gaps in security practices. We will pinpoint security practice gaps, including issues identified in documentation, and assess whether the project’s testing is sufficient for the long-term health of the project. We will evaluate the monitoring plan, and recommend improvements in automated security tool usage.
  • Code maturity evaluation. Through our reviews, we will evaluate the maturity of the protocol and offer actionable security improvement recommendations.
  • Tailored design recommendations. We will adapt our review based on the project’s unique needs and requirements and provide recommendations tailored toward the protocol business logic.
  • Lightweight code review of critical project areas. We will review the code to understand and assess the technical solution for potential security issues or concerns. However, we won’t look for in-depth vulnerabilities during an early-stage review, as the code review is intended to identify surface-level bugs.

Clients using our Early Stage Security Review will get preferential scheduling and pricing for blockchain and other Trail of Bits services. Insights from the initial review will help reduce the effort required for a comprehensive review after substantial development completes.

Get ahead of security issues

The early-stage security review service will enable you to:

  • Set a strong security foundation. Early feedback sets your solutions on a path to success, minimizing potential security oversights.
  • Receive expert recommendations earlier. Tailored guidance for your unique codebase empowers you to make informed decisions and enhance your protocol’s security.
  • Reduce cost by preventing late refactoring. A proactive security approach from inception avoids costly late-stage refactoring and streamlines the development cycle.

Don’t wait until your project is code complete to prioritize security. Contact us to take advantage of our experience to help you secure your project from the start.