Code Review Guide Foreword

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Foreword by Jeff Williams, OWASP Chair

Many organizations have realized that their code is not as secure as they may have thought. Now they're starting the difficult work of verifying the security of their applications. There are four basic techniques for analyzing code - automated scanning, manual penetration testing, static analysis, and manual code review.

This OWASP Guide is focused on the last of these techniques. Of course, all of these techniques have their strengths, weaknesses, sweet spots, and blind spots. Arguments about which technique is the best are like arguing whether a hammer or saw is more valuable when building a house. If you try to build a house with just a hammer, you'll do a terrible job.

Why Code Review?

Despite the many claims that code review is too expensive or time consuming, there is no question that it is the fastest and most accurate way to find and diagnose many security problems. There are also dozens of security problems that simply can't be found any other way.

Code review is also that only way to verify that security has been implemented correctly. By checking the code


Getting Started


OWASP Guides

The OWASP guides are intended to teach you how to use these techniques. But the fact that they are separate shouldn't be an indicator that they should be used alone. The Building Guide shows your project how to architect and build a secure application, this Code Review Guide tells you how to verify the security of your application's source code, and the Testing Guide shows you how to verify the security of your running application.

Security moves too fast for traditional books to be of much use. But OWASP's collaborative environment allows us to keep up to date. There are hundreds of contributors to the OWASP Guides and we make over a thousand updates to our materials every month. We're committed to making high quality application security materials available to everyone. It's the only way we'll ever make any real progress on application security as a software community.

Call to Action

If you're building software, I strongly encourage you to get familiar with the securguidance in this document. If you find errors, please add a note to the discussion page or make the change yourself. You'll be helping thousands of others who use this guide.

Please consider joining us as an individual or corporate member so that we can continue to produce materials like this code review guide and all the other great projects at OWASP.

Thank you to all the past and future contributors to this guide, your work will help to make applications worldwide more secure.

-- Jeff Williams, OWASP Chair, October 17, 2007