New University of Illinois Study Shows Blockchain Proof of Stake Networks Can be Vulnerable to Attacks

    It seems that Proof of Stake (PoS) networks are also under attack. At least, they could be. A team of students from the University of Illinois released a new study related to PoS networks operating in the market. The report shows that there are several PoS blockchains that could be affected by ‘Fake Stake’ attacks.

    The team of researchers is called Decentralized Systems Lab and released this study in which they are able to identify some weaknesses in specific PoS networks. As per the researchers, the attacker could wreak havoc on the network. It seems that nodes can crash by filling up their disks or RAM with bogus data.

    Some of the cryptocurrencies that can be affected by the vulnerability called “I Can’ Believe it’s not Stake” are Emercoin, Particl, Qtum, Htmlcoin and Navcoin. These virtual currencies adopted Bitcoin’s block propagation methods and a bogus attack could just simply affect the victim’s RAM.

    Users only need a small amount of stake and amplify their amount. As per the analysts, with 0.01% stake in the system, the attacker only needs 5,000 transactions to mine blocks with 50% apparent stake power.

    On the matter, they commented:

    “After the attacker has collected a large amount of apparent stake, he then proceeds to mine PoS blocks at a past time using the freshly collected apparent stake outputs. Finally, the attacker fills the disk of the victim peer with invalid blocks.”

    The researchers decided to provide this information to fifteen different teams that could have been attacked and experienced this issue. There were five teams that explained that the knew this issue. Some other teams did not answer while three of them rebutted the issues.

    Ethereum (ETH) is currently trying to move from a Proof of Work (PoW) network to a Proof of Stake one to operate in a more efficient way.

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