Nick Szabo first coined the term smart contract in 1996, but probably due to the unavailability of the appropriate technology, it wasn’t put into use. In 2014, Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin and his team came up with the idea of amalgamating blockchain and smart contracts. This became the inception of Ethereum as the world computer and platform built for smart contracts.
Although adjoined with one of the most secured techs of the time, smart contracts bring in their own set of vulnerabilities, making them susceptible to hacking. To prevent smart contracts from exploitation, paying attention to their security aspects is imperative. The first step to which is smart contract auditing. Auditing is slowly gaining importance in the blockchain sphere, creating a demand for passionate and competent auditors to safeguard users’ crypto assets.
This blog is meant for all aspiring smart contract auditors, citing the simplest ways you can begin your journey to become one of the best smart contract auditors.
What is a Smart Contract Auditor?
A smart contract auditor is a security professional who manually analyzes that smart contract line-by-line and deploys smart contract audit tools to verify the code for bugs.
An auditor checks to ensure a contract is implemented securely and accurately on a blockchain network.
Auditors must have a thorough understanding of how coding and blockchain technologies operate. Primarily, they must evaluate others’ code and understand how flaws might result in vulnerabilities or access points to smart contracts.
In the upcoming section, we will discuss the steps you can follow to become a smart contract auditor.
The Easiest Way to Become a Best Smart Contract Auditor
- Learn Programming
Undoubtedly, the skills of a developer overlap with the best crypto auditors. Coding is hence one of the prerequisites for becoming a successful auditor. Being a developer, it is essential to understand the syntax and semantics of the individual instruction.
If you are absolutely new to the tech domain, ensure to put in the maximum time to gain programming skills first.
- Move to Solidity
To become a smart contract auditor, Solidity is probably the most important language that auditors must understand thoroughly.
We know it would be too specific to talk about only one language, but let’s be realistic: most smart contracts today are deployed over EVM-compatible blockchain networks, making Solidity the most used language for smart contracts.
Also, the sheer volume of DeFi applications, developers, and available documentation in Solidity rather than in any non-EVM-compatible language. Making it easier for a beginner to get hold of the study material.
For Solidity fundamentals, you can refer to the following:
- Learn about Ethereum basic
Being the frontrunner, Ethereum provided a base for smart contracts and evidently stands at the top for smart contract deployment. Although there are many resources available, it’s good to begin with the Ethereum book at github.com.
Post this, develop a clear understanding of the ERC token standards, including ERC20, ERC721, ERC777, ERC1155, ERC4626, and BEP20.
- Develop smart contract functioning.
Following is a list of stops you need to cross over to become a blockchain security researcher.
- Gas Optimization
Gas determines the cost of executing a transaction on a blockchain network. No transaction is possible without allocating a gas cost to it. It deals with removing redundant computations to conserve the amount of gas required for executing the transaction.
Smart contract optimization may lower gas usage and, as a result, the associated cost of carrying out transactions. Additionally, it may help to prevent the malicious use of smart contracts.
- Smart contract Testing/ Debugging
Testing seeks to verify if the smart contract is functioning as per its intended behavior. Using tools like a hardhat, foundry, etc., can help you with project compilation, testing, and debugging.
- Upgradable Contracts
One of the essential components of healthy smart contract development is to use a proxy or upgradable smart contract. They aid in making required amendments to the smart contract after deploying it on the immutable blockchain network.
- Smart contracts and solidity attack vectors
Now that you are opting to become a cyber security auditor, it is imperative for you to know about the major and minor risks involved with smart contracts.
You can go through Securum security pitfalls and the SWC registry to analyze the bugs associated with smart contract development.
- Smart contract helper libraries
OpenZeppelin’s libraries are often used for standard functional codes for smart contract development. Library offers a full range of security products to construct, manage, and analyze every part of code development and operations for Ethereum projects.
- Blockchain protocols(Uniswap, sushiswap, compound, save, etc.)
Blockchain protocols, often known as enterprise blockchain protocols, control several aspects of blockchain technology. Spreading throughout the network, protocols on the blockchain maintain the decentralized approach and do away with the central authority character. Data is efficiently, securely, and dependably transported across networks owing to protocols. The responsibility of a blockchain protocol is to uphold and regulate security, consensus, and the networking components of the blockchain. Uniswap, Sushiswap, Compound, AAVE, etc., are some of the well-known blockchain protocols in use today.
- Learn Decentralized Finance Basics
The term “decentralized finance” refers to a variety of financial domains on the blockchain ledger. DeFi is the most vulnerable sector in blockchain security, with almost $12bn worth of digital assets lost in 2021 alone.
Hence, learning about DeFi basics and DeFi attack vectors is imperative. Surely there will be a time when you will get the Defi project to be audited.
Additional Resource: What is Blockchain Security Audit?
Auditing is often achieved by deploying automated tools, Slither, Echidna, Mythril, manticore, etc., the commonly used ones. So, an auditor must try to get comfortable with these tools to obtain the designed results.
- Report Reading
Go through the audit reports of smart contract auditing firms to realize how vulnerabilities are addressed and reported for the developers to refactor their code. Also, you can go through Securum Audit findings to analyze the report-making standards for smart contract auditors.
- Read about the security postmortems of some well-known cybersecurity researchers and organizations.
Follow blog posts of top security researchers like Samczun, peckshield, Mudit Gupta, and more to remain in the know in the blockchain security domain.
- Solve some ethernaut challenge
Ethernaut, an OpenZeppelin’s creation Web3.0 war game, is a leading open-source framework for building smart contracts.
Divided into various levels, the game aids cybersecurity researchers in developing their Ethereum knowledge and smart contract hacking.
A cyber security auditor might take many different routes to success. It requires much work with continuous and experiential learning, keeping up with the most recent threats and exploits.
New crypto-specific job sites have emerged to connect skilled individuals with the Web 3.0 world as the industry faces a major development spurt, with smart contract auditors in huge demand. So, develop your skill step-by-step to become a successful smart contract auditor.