U.Today Franchise
0
⭐ Features

34,200 Ethereum Contracts Vulnerable to Hackers, Containing Millions in Ether

Put your
crypto to
work
  • 0.00

    Interest per week

  • 0.00

    Interest per year

  • 0.0

    Interest rate

Join Now!
Sponsored by Celsius.Network
  • David Dinkins
    ⭐ Features

    Researchers have found more than 34,000 Ethereum smart contracts that are vulnerable to hackers, potentially putting tens of millions of dollars at risk.

34,200 Ethereum Contracts Vulnerable to Hackers, Containing Millions in Ether
Cover image via u.today

Over 34,000 of Ethereum’s smart contracts — containing tens of millions of dollars — are vulnerable to hackers, according to researchers. Ilya Sergey, assistant professor at University College London, has co-authored a paper with colleagues from the National University of Singapore outlining the vulnerabilities.

In the beginning

Sergey’s interest in smart contract security began with the revelation last year that a hacker calling himself “DevOpps199” had exploited a vulnerability in order to make himself the “owner” of a library used by a number of Ethereum wallets, including the popular Parity wallet. DevOpps199 wasn’t able to steal users’ funds, but by deleting the critical library, he was able to forever lock the funds up and prevent their release. Ethereum users lost $150 mln as a result of this attack.

Amazingly, Parity knew of the flaw months before the attack, and chose not to fix it. The fix that would have kept $150 mln in users’ funds from getting forever locked was considered a “convenience enhancement.”

“Like a vending machine”

Researchers wanted to analyze Ethereum’s entire Blockchain to find which other smart contracts were vulnerable to hackers. They wanted to do so at scale, and they didn’t have access to the source code of every smart contract on the network. So Sergey came up with a clever idea: he’d clone the entire Ethereum Blockchain, essentially making a private fork of the network. This would allow him to execute attacks, see how the smart contracts reacted, and tweak his methods.

Sergey compared his research to deciphering a vending machine’s operations. He told Motherboard Vice:

Imagine your goal isn’t to interact with the vending machine in a proper way, but rather you want to break it or get it to serve you for free. Assume we put a few coins in the machine, and just start randomly pushing buttons hoping that the inner workings of the vending machine — which we have no knowledge about, springs and whatnot — eventually releases the latch so you can take the candy.

34,200

The researchers poked and prodded at over 1 mln smart contracts, and when one didn’t behave as expected, they flagged it for further research. Ultimately they discovered 34,200 contracts that were exploitable. A deeper examination of 3,000 of these contracts revealed they held $6 mln in Ether. That means that total amount of Ether at stake could be in the tens of millions of dollars.

Sergey said his researchers tried to find the owners of the vulnerable contracts to warn them, but have not been able to locate them. For now, the funds are safe. Sergey says:

If someone wants to exploit this idea, they’ll have to do at least as much work as we did.

About the author

David Dinkins is a freelance writer who holds a Master of Arts in history from Louisiana Tech University and has extensive teaching experience both at LSU – Shreveport and University of Phoenix. He got involved with cryptocurrency in early 2014 working as part of the Dash Core Team and have served in the role of writer/editor (mostly editor) during that time. He has edited a huge number of documents for the Core Team, including the Evolution whitepaper, the PrivateSend whitepaper, and many of Evan Duffield’s communications with the Dash Community.

Recommended articles
CLOUD MININGPromoted
0
📰 News

Bitcoin Price Can Be Easily Pushed Down by Whales: Professor John Griffin

Put your
crypto to
work
  • 0.00

    Interest per week

  • 0.00

    Interest per year

  • 0.0

    Interest rate

Join Now!
Sponsored by Celsius.Network
  • Alex Dovbnya
    📰 News

    John Griffin says that rapid price swings are possible because it can be manipulated by deep-pocketed whales who are not stronger than ever

Bitcoin Price Can Be Easily Pushed Down by Whales: Professor John Griffin
Cover image via u.today

Economics professor John Griffin recently rang alarm bells over the impact of Bitcoin whales on the Bitcoin market. 

Griffin told Bloomberg that a few large players could easily push the BTC price down at a whim. 

"The problem with a few large players holding crypto is that when they sell they can easily push the price down, which makes the market susceptible to rapid swings."  

👉MUST READ

Bitcoin Is Dying, According to Top Trader Who Masterfully Shorted BTC at $20,000

Bitcoin Is Dying, According to Top Trader Who Masterfully Shorted BTC at $20,000

Whales are getting more powerful 

According to data released by CoinMetrics, the number of orange coins controlled by deep-pocketed Bitcoin investors reached its highest point in four years in 2019. As of December, a whopping 42.1 percent of Bitcoin's total circulating supply is stored in wallets that hold between 1,000 and 1 mln BTC. 

While crypto exchanges are known to be the owners of the richest Bitcoin addresses, investor Aaron Brown warms some of the new whales on the block are family offices and affluent individuals who are not exactly keen Bitcoin believers who might be tempted to jump ship if things turn south. 

“I doubt they have infinite patience, and without significant growth in actual use, I would expect them to quietly withdraw to chase other promising technologies,” Brown said.

👉MUST READ

Peter Schiff Says Bitcoin Is Running Out of Buyers to 'Keep Ponzi Going'

Peter Schiff Says Bitcoin Is Running Out of Buyers to 'Keep Ponzi Going'

Becrying Tether's impact on Bitcoin 

Speaking of those who don't believe in Bitcoin, Griffin probably takes the cake as one of the most prominent naysayers. Back in June 2018, together with his colleague Amin Shams, he published a paper that explores how Tether was allegedly responsible for propelling Bitcoin to new highs during the peak of the previous bull market in December 2018. 

At the beginning of November, the two academics came up with an even more shooking claim -- the historic ascent of Bitcoin to its current all-time high of $20,000 was the deed of a single whale on Bitfinex, the affiliated exchange of Tether.

Tether dismissed the updated study as a puff piece that was meant to back up a $1.4 trln lawsuit against the flagship stablecoin issuer. 

About the author

Alex Dovbnya (aka AlexMorris) is a cryptocurrency expert, trader and journalist with an extensive experience of covering everything related to the burgeoning industry — from price analysis to Blockchain disruption. Alex authored more than 1,000 stories for U.Today, CryptoComes and other fintech media outlets. He’s particularly interested in regulatory trends around the globe that are shaping the future of digital assets.

Recommended articles
CLOUD MININGPromoted