Ethereum Classic suffered third attack in a month: what happened to the security measures?

Key facts:
  • The weak hash rate of the network seems to be a great incentive for malicious actors.

  • As the community agrees on improvements, the risks increase.

Ethereum Classic suffered a new 51% attack last weekend; third onslaught in less than a month. Now, the cryptocurrency is at risk of being removed from the main exchange platforms if the community does not gain speed in implementing the appropriate formulas to contain the attacks.

Bitfly, the parent company of the Ethermine mining group, warned about the new attack, pointing out that this time the onslaught caused a reorganization of more than 7,000 blocks, equivalent to two days of mining. Then, the Ethereum Classic organization confirmed the event through Twitter.

At message, the developers suggested that miners, exchanges and other service providers keep the confirmation levels well above seven thousand until the current risk to the network is mitigated.

Evidently the security measures announced by the organization on August 19 failed, although it is not clear if these were finally implemented. One of the short-term solutions called for cooperation with mining pools to maintain a more constant hash rate and increase it when necessary. If anything, it appears that the incentives weren’t enough to mine ETC at a loss just to protect the network.

The first two attacks resulted in reorganizations of 3,693 and 4,000 blocks respectively. In that sense, the third attack seems to be the largest, since it reached more blocks.

Although the project has not yet reported the amounts lost from the latest attack, it is clear that Ethereum Classic remains extremely vulnerable to external interventions due to its low hash rate, which is approximately 2 terahashes per second.

51% attacks consist of hijacking 51% or more of the computing power of a blockchain with the aim of rewriting the blocks for malicious purposes. It is a formula that attackers use to corrupt blockchains that operate under a proof-of-work algorithm (Proof-of-Work).

A malicious agent with more than 51% of the network’s total hash rate can double-spend the same coins or revoke transactions. In this way, the attacker tries to profit unfairly.

The website, crypto51 which calculates the costs of a 51% attack on each blockchain, esteem that the cost of attacking ETC is 100 times less than an attack on ETH, which shares the same mining algorithm. Therefore, attackers are much more likely to choose you over other more secure chains such as Bitcoin, whose attack would cost approximately $ 679,835 per hour, something that a hacker wanting to make a profit is sure to dismiss.

Hackers continue to exploit vulnerabilities in the ETC network. Source: Mohamed Almari / pexels.com.

As the attacks have taken place in recent weeks, some brokerages such as OKEx and KuCoin have chosen to remove ETC from their available cryptocurrency lists, waiting for it to stabilize and the network to be more secure. In the meantime, ETC developers continue to work on evaluating proposed solutions to strengthen security to contain third-party interventions.

“ETC is ~ 3% of the hash rate of the ETH network as a whole. We are very aware of potential repeat attacks while testing and evaluating solutions such as reorganization limits and subsequent ECIPs, ”he explained in a Tweet the non-profit organization ETC Cooperative. «If you have not already done so, please increase (which most have) the settings [sic] above ~ 10K, “he added.

Ethereum Classic, an incentive for hacking

A couple of weeks ago, the network suffered its second attack. The first two caused $ 7.3 million in damages. At that time, CriptoNoticias reported that the organization put defensive mining into practice as a short-term measure, while the community agrees on other solutions.

The community assures that it is drawing up a roadmap in several stages to further secure the network. To this end, they are establishing closer coordination with the exchanges, better supervision of the network and the application of an arbitration system that they have called “Permapoint”. This proposal is about a framework developed by the ETC Central Team to inhibit chain reorganizations and maintain consensus between nodes.

The Ethereum Classic developers are considering changing the mining algorithm in favor of Keccak-256 or RandomX (used in Monero). These proposals were part of the security measures that the project team presented two weeks ago.

These long-term countermeasures are expected to be introduced in the next three to six months. However, no changes can be made until the community agrees; while that happens, the risks of new attacks will remain latent, threatening the network.

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Ethereum Classic suffered third attack in a month: what happened to the security measures?

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