Smart contracts have seen a steep popularity curve since they entered the blockchain domain, mainly with the arrival of Ethereum. It is a computer program that can automatically execute the terms of a contract upon meeting certain requirements.
However, smart contracts do come with a set of vulnerabilities that could cost heavily on your pocket. Hence, it is essential to pay keen attention to smart contract security. Apart from being careful while contract development, it is necessary to get a third-party perspective, especially if it’s from a blockchain security professional.
Conducting a thorough, smart contract audit is essential to ensure a contract’s quality, reliability, and security. However, manually reviewing and testing the code of a smart contract can be a time-consuming and complex task, even for experienced programmers. This is where smart contract audit tools can be useful.
What are Smart Contract Audit Tools?
Smart contract audit tools are software programs designed to assist in reviewing and testing smart contract codes.
These tools can automate some processes involved in reviewing and testing smart contract code. For example, some tools can automatically scan the code for potential vulnerabilities or security flaws and provide detailed reports on the findings. Other tools can simulate the execution of the contract under different conditions and provide insights into how the contract will perform in different scenarios.
What are the benefits of Smart Contract Audit Tools?
Some of the key benefits of smart contract audit tools include the following:
- Automated code scanning: Some tools can automatically scan the contract code for potential vulnerabilities or security flaws and provide detailed reports on the findings. This can help identify issues with the contract code quickly and efficiently and save time and resources.
- Simulation and testing: Some tools can simulate the execution of the contract under different conditions and provide insights into how the contract will perform in different scenarios. This can help identify potential contract issues that may not be apparent from a manual review of the code.
- User-friendly interface: Many smart contract audit tools have a user-friendly UI that makes it easy for programmers and users to understand and use the tool. This can help improve the audit process’s efficiency and effectiveness and make it more accessible to users with limited programming experience.
Types of Smart Contract Audit Tools
Several types of smart contract audit tools are available, which can be used to review and test the code of a smart contract. Some of the main types of smart contract audit tools include:
Code scanners are tools that can automatically scan the code of a smart contract and identify potential vulnerabilities or security flaws. These tools typically use a combination of algorithms and heuristics to identify common smart contract vulnerabilities and can provide detailed reports on the findings.
Examples: Mythril, Mythx, and Slither
Simulation tools can imitate the execution of a smart contract under different conditions and scenarios. These tools can help identify potential contract issues that may not be apparent from a manual review of the code and can provide insights into how the contract will perform in different situations. Developers and researchers also use these suites for verifying logic by writing unit test cases.
Examples: Truffle, Mythril, Foundry, and hardhat
Security testing tools
These tools can simulate different types of attacks on the contract, such as reentrancy and malicious transactions, and can provide insights into the contract’s resistance to these attacks. Also, some of these are fuzz tools to locate the vulnerabilities in the code.
Examples: Echidna, Foundry, and Manticore.
How to choose the appropriate smart contract audit tool?
If you have reached this far, one thing that might be on your mind is choosing the right tools for smart contract audits. Although it might be a daunting task, there are ways out.
The first step is to clearly define the purpose of the audit and the specific tasks the tool will need to perform.
Here are a few points that you can consider before picking up your perfect fit.
The cost of a smart contract audit tool can vary depending on the features and capabilities it offers. Consider your budget and choose a tool that provides good value for money.
- The complexity of the code
Different tools have characteristics and capabilities, so it is important to carefully evaluate the features of each tool to ensure that it meets your needs. Consider the types of tasks the tool can perform, the automation level, and the level of support and documentation available.
- Programming Language
Language is an essential component of any smart contract development. Most audit tools are language specific. Choose the tool corresponding to your contract’s programming language.
Top Smart Contract Audit Tools
Many smart contract audit tools are available, and the desirable option depends on your specific needs and requirements. Some of the top smart contract audit tools include:
Mythril is a popular code-scanning tool that can automatically scan the code of a smart contract and identify potential vulnerabilities or security flaws. The most intriguing aspect of this tool is that it employs several cutting-edge techniques such as taint analysis, symbolic execution, and others.
Another popularly used tool by the solidity smart contract auditors. In fact, slither was one of the earliest tools to be launched for auditing smart contracts. It was developed by Trail of Bits in 2018. It’s a solidity static analyzer designed using Python 3. It offers a simple API to help security professionals write their analyzers easily and quickly.
Echidna is a smart contract fuzzing tool developed by Trail of bits. It is developed using Haskell programming language for Ethereum smart contract fuzzing. Echidna is designed to be easy to use and can help improve a smart contract’s security and reliability.
Manticore is another well-known execution-based technique for identifying gaps in smart contracts. The ability of this tool to scan x86/64 and ARM binaries, in addition to Ethereum-based programs, is its most exciting feature.
Truffle is an established framework for building blockchain applications and functions as a reliable asset pipeline, testing framework, and development environment for blockchain platforms. The framework is reliable regardless of whether programmers intend to build on top of Ethereum, Hyperledger, Quorum, or any other supported platform. Truffle offers the features required to serve as an entire dApp development platform.
With the number of smart contracts increasing exponentially, one must pay attention to the security aspect related to it. A smart contract audit is essential to assess the code’s correctness and prevent expensive exploits.
Smart contract audit tools can provide valuable support and assistance in reviewing and testing smart contract codes. These tools can automate some of the audit processes and provide valuable insights and recommendations to improve the contract’s performance and security.