Secure source code review is a process that examines an application’s source code. The process might be manual or automated. Its aim is to determine any existing security lapses or vulnerabilities that might exist in the source code. It specifically helps to identify logical errors, examines specification implementation, checks style guidelines, unfolds control lags, etc.

Need for Secure Source Code Review:

The review enables the development team to determine potentially risky vulnerabilities and eliminate the vulnerabilities before the application is released minimizing the security risks after release. They are mandatory for regular compliance for a few industries like healthcare, banking services, payments, etc. The secure source code review can be done anytime during the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) but it’s more beneficial when vulnerabilities are detected early in the systems.

The advantages of performing secure source code review are:

  1. To reduce the number of risks that might come in the later stages of software development.
  2. To minimize the number of security bugs.
  3. Improve the continuity, consistency, and maintainability across the code.
  4. Protects the integrity of the application and the security of sensitive data.
  5. Minimize the time spent by developers on fixing bugs and enhance productivity.
  6. Improve the efficiency of future code development
  7. Increases the return on investment by making the process secure and faster using less time and fewer resources.
  8. Maintain security compliance according to industry standard laws or regulations.
  9. Limits the application downtime and hence increases productivity.
  10. Improves trust and confidence of users of your business.

The following areas of security mechanisms are checked in the process

  • Authorization
  • Authentication
  • Session management
  • Data validation
  • Error Handling
  • Encryption
  • Logging

The Process of Secure Source Code Review:

A source code review can be of two types:

  1. Manual: In this process, a software expert does the tedious task of reading the source code line by line in order to identify potential risks or vulnerabilities.

  1. Automated: This process analyses the source code by using smart automated code review tools and it is less time-consuming than the manual process.

However, a combination of manual and automated secure source code review is the most efficient way to find vulnerabilities effectively.

Our panel of experts in G-Info Technology Solutions Private Ltd. analyses your business needs and suggests options and tools to effectively perform secure source code reviews. Sometimes developers have priorities to develop the application within the timelines where the security aspect may be overlooked. Our experts provide remediation advice as part of secure source code review for secure application development.

Secure Source Code Review Methodology:

While performing a secure source code review the following areas are to be reviewed:

  • Failures in identification, access control, and authentication
  • Inadequate error handling
  • Potential exposure of sensitive data
  • Various types of injection flaws

Automated code review tools (static application security testing tools) are able to identify several common coding errors that might lead to vulnerabilities.

The steps followed generally are:

  1. Reconnaissance: In this step, the review team gets an understanding of how the program operates. The review team looks into the real operating application and has a quick rundown of database structures and libraries that are being used.
  2. Threat Analysis: To understand the application architecture to identify the threats. Then the threats need to be prioritized. The organization’s essential applications have to be identified.  This threat analysis needs to be done for a group of applications.
  3. Automated Review:  Automated technologies are used to analyze large code bases. These are capable of locating all unsafe code packets in the database, which a security expert can later examine.
  4. Manual Review: A manual assessment is crucial for tracking the attack surface of an application. Although its time consuming and but it is very necessary.
  5. Confirmation: The risks that are identified by the completion of automated and manual reviews are verified and steps are taken to remediate the vulnerabilities.
  6. Reports: All the findings from the above steps are compiled in a report. Every bug in the code is tested and solutions to patch them are identified. Then the client’s development team and reviewer’s team, discuss the problems and suggestions and fix the problems for secure application development.


A source code review helps in discovering hidden vulnerabilities, and design flaws and helps to verify that key security controls are implemented. A secure source code review is the best way to identify vulnerabilities that might have gone undetected in application security testing. The secure source code review help to identify and fix security vulnerabilities in the application at the development stage. These are a good investment and they help in preventing security threats and damage due to cyber attacks in the future.


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Sandhya Khamesra, North Business Head, BSI Group,

Hats off to CEO of Global IS consulting who has been maintaining our ISO 27001 & ISO 20000 standard maintenance since our inception. Their Cybersecurity experts have been instrumental in protecting us from latest cyber threats through their extensive penetration of our network and patching them in time.

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