LennonCMJ / secure-code-review-checklist

A starter secure code review checklist

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A starter secure code review checklist

  • Available in Xlsx for offline testing

Table of Contents

Information Gathering

  • Get a copy of the code
  • Manually explore the file structure of the code
  • Look for any missing pieces of code
  • Check for frameworks / libraries / dependencies
  • Check for application routes and their inputs


  • Sensitive data is not hard-coded in configuration files
  • Develop and test code are properly segregated from production
  • Dependencies are up to date

Secure Transmission

  • Sensitive data is only transmitted over an SSL connection
  • Site is partitioned into private and public URLs
  • Sensitive data has been secured in memory, storage and transit
  • Sensitive data doesn’t leak to non private channels


  • Test for user enumeration
  • Passwords are encrypted using a framework / library
  • Users are unable to login over GET, only POST
  • User credentials are encrypted using framework/library
  • Strong password policy in effect

Session Management

  • Establish how session management is handled in the application
  • Session cookies are encrypted and have a length of at least 128 bits and are complex
  • Session cookies are not persistent
  • Session cookies use cookie attributes httponly, secure, samesite
  • Session tokens are not passed in URLs
  • Session Cookies expire in a reasonable amount of time
  • Logout will invalidate the session


  • Sensitive transactions require re authentication
  • Authentication and Authorization checks are done on each private request
  • Authorization checks are granular, per page / directory / action
  • Authorization checks are appropriate for each HTTP Verb the application supports

Data Validation

  • All user input is validated for proper type, length, format and range
  • Validation on user input is done server side
  • Uploaded files are validated for content type, size, file type and filename
  • Special characters are sanitized before being used in external systems, like databases
  • Does invalid input trigger handled exceptions

Application Output

  • All page output is properly encoded
  • All header output is URL encoded
  • Cache headers are properly set on sensitive data
  • Security headers are properly set on the application
  • Sensitive Application information is not revealed to the user
  • Error messages don’t reveal sensitive information
  • Error messages aren't user controllable


  • User passwords are encrypted using a stretching algorithm and uniquely salted
  • Block ciphers operate in CBC and IV values are not reused
  • Salts are unique per user, have over 64 bits of secure random data
  • Check for known bad ciphers (RC4), cryptographic hash functions (MD5) and insecure random number generation

Log Management

  • All sensitive user actions are logged with the following: Where, What, When, Who, How answered
  • All sensitive system actions are logged with the following: Where, What, When, Who, How answered
  • Sensitive info is not logged
  • User input is sanitized and validated before being placed in application logs


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A starter secure code review checklist