New SABRE Relay Network by Swiss University ETH Zurich Intends on Defending Bitcoin Attackers

As things stand, many crypto projects are quite vulnerable to the shady activities of hackers and other malignant, third-party actors. In this regard, we can see that over the past couple of years, these dangers have become more pertinent — since it appears as though various nefarious agents have been looking to “split the Bitcoin network into two” for quite some time now.

A Closer Look at the Matter

According to a recent whitepaper published by a leading Swiss university ‘ETH Zurich’, a whole host of “blockchain systems are quite vulnerable to hacking issues” since they depend on ‘internet-wide communications in order to reach community consensus’.

When talking exclusively about Bitcoin’s shortcomings, the above-mentioned whitepaper states that the Bitcoin network can easily be ‘split in half’ by any AS-level adversary if he/she were to make use of a BGP-based attack (Border Gateway Protocol).

However, via a recent press release, the folks over at ETH Zurich claim that their crypto-dev team has devised a relay network solution called ‘SABER’ (that could be used to protect the BTC ecosystem from the aforementioned issue).

What is SABER?

As the name seems to indicate, SABER can be thought of as a digital security tool that has been designed to act as a “defense mechanism” against foreign actors. Not only that, but it can also be used to protect a network against ‘routing attacks’.

To be a bit more specific, we can see that SABER, when deployed, can play an integral role in securing a network by providing its host system with the following benefits:

  1. Deliver clients connected to the host network with definitive security guarantees.
  2. The SABER protocol has the ability to be partially/fully deployed — as per the requirements of the network operator.
  3. Provide developers with a host of unique security benefits early-on in the system’s deployment phase.

Lastly, on the subject of SABER’s utility and overall functionality, Maria Apostolaki of ETH Zurich was quoted as saying:

“SABRE is a small relay network whose nodes are strategically located such that they remain connected to each other and connected to as many regular nodes as possible, even in the presence of an AS-level adversary that hijacks traffic.”

Final Take

In rounding off this article, it is worth noting that ETH Zurich’s whitepaper states that when making use of SABER, the risk of a network split can be reduced to an amazing extent. To be more precise, the protocol, when deployed, helps bring down the possibility of a network hijack/split to just 3.1 percent.

Last but not least, it should also be noted that SABER will be presented to the world during the upcoming Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (which is scheduled to take place at the end of this month).

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