Blockchain Security Spotlight

NEW DELHI: Whenever a trend sees significant growth in terms of users and capital flows, it attracts more malicious actors to that space as new attack vectors are opened up and cybersecurity practices in new areas are often not fully understood or implemented.

Additionally, some of these trends and technologies are being adopted at a rapid pace, increasing the urgency to simultaneously adopt good security practices to keep data and crypto assets secure.

Let’s take a look at some alarming statistics. It is estimated that after every 14 seconds, an individual or business falls prey to a ransomware attack. Small businesses are the main targets of cyberattacks: most small businesses continue to be the smallest investors in cybersecurity, despite accounting for 13% of the cybercrime market!

With the growing popularity of the metaverse and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), there are also many security challenges.

Many current metaverse projects require users to connect their cryptocurrency wallets to interact with them, as gameplay and interaction must be tied to a unique identity, i.e. the public address of your wallet. And, just like in the real world, your wallet is used to buy things like land, clothes, art, and other things. However, having an attached crypto wallet such as MetaMask is where the security issues within the Metaverse start to take shape, so we will need to look into this and other cybersecurity issues within the Metaverse.

Lately, there have been countless reports of compromised wallets in the metaverse, resulting in stolen funds and NFTs. Everything from fake airdrops intended to phish user accounts, to compromised keys, the metaverse adds another complex attack vector to the blockchain. Additionally, VR technologies like Oculus and HTC Vive, which will become a centerpiece of metaverse interaction, have also proven vulnerable to hacks.

NFTs are collectible cryptographic tokens that represent something unique and cannot be replicated. Over the past two years, the NFT sales market has quadrupled to $250 million and has seen well-known artists such as Beeple sell their crypto art through NFTs for millions of dollars. These large sums of money and these new technologies have attracted a whole new wave of consumers to the crypto space, and whenever a new technology sector sees massive growth, cybercriminals naturally have more opportunities to exploit the users.

Recently, OpenSea – the leading market for NFTs – needed to patch a vulnerability in its platform that would allow hackers to drain users’ wallets by sending them a maliciously crafted NFT. For example, you could open your wallet one day, notice a seemingly free NFT, try to send that NFT to another wallet, or just interact with it in some way, and from there the hacker could drain some portfolio funds. This hack would work as the user would expose their wallet details in the process.

A clear overview of various blockchain security issues shows complicity in the current state of blockchain security. Awareness of blockchain security vulnerabilities is key to building better networks and systems. Additionally, technical advances such as AI-based solutions for infrastructure, transactions, and code analysis can set new trends in blockchain security.

(The author is Founder, India Blockchain Alliance)

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