Blockchain technology, like everything else that can be connected to the internet, is prone to attacks by hackers. Developers need to take extra precautions to protect their dApps and other blockchain-based products from hackers. This is because, crimes committed on the blockchain often go unreported. The vulnerability isn’t just a problem faced by third generation blockchains. Even older blockchains like the Ethereum blockchain, are prone to attacks by hackers.
Ethereum Blockchain Vulnerabilities Targeted
According to a report published by ZDnet, a tech based news outlet, hackers recently released a scanning network specifically designed to target Ethereum mining hardware and Ethereum wallets on a global scale. The campaign started on the 3rd of December and it has been fully active since then. The hackers are specifically targeting port 8545. This port is the standard port for the JSON-RPC interface. This is the interface used by Ethereum miners and on Ethereum wallets.
The API interface by developers allows applications to scan for data related to mining or funds. However, some less secure mining machinery and wallets expose this interface through a port. This port can be compromised easily by hackers. Typically, the ports are not created with passwords. A user is expected to configure one. If the interface is left exposed, a hacker can exploit this vulnerability using it to steal cryptocurrencies.
While hackers recently launched their attack, this isn’t the first time the existence of this vulnerability is being announced. In August, the Ethereum development team announced that those apps and miners that run on insecurely configured clients are at risk of attacks. They recommended that developers filter the traffic using a secure firewall or use passwords to protect the interface.
Since then, many mining rig vendors took steps to reduce the possibility of falling victims to hackers by completely removing the interface or reducing the use of port 8545. Still, many clients are still unsecure allowing hackers to scan them effectively.
Qihoo 360 Netlab, a Chinese cyber-security firm, reported that more than $20 million in ETH was stolen by one group of hackers who explored this vulnerability in July. Hackers are typically more active when the price of cryptocurrencies are high. However, they can attack the market at any time. The fact that they decided to target Ethereum at a time when the price of ETH is struggling against the USD is cause of curiosity. The hackers obviously don’t care about the cryptocurrency winter. They are going about their business. Toy Mursch, the co-founder of Bad Packets LLC, while talking to ZDnet, said:
“Over the past week, the level of scan activity from hackers have tripled. This is according to the reports. More than 4,700 devices and Parity wallets are still exposed to this problem. They haven’t taken any measures to protect themselves and can be attacked anytime.
Ethereum (ETH) Price Analysis
Meanwhile, since the beginning of this bearish market, ETH has suffered loses more than most coins. In fact, the cryptocurrency lost its position as the second largest cryptocurrency per market capitalization to XRP. With hackers trying to target Ethereum mining hardware, the troubles of the blockchain are not yet over.
At the time of writing, ETH was trading at $91.45. It is down by 1.72% against the USD and up by 0.44% against Bitcoin. The 24 hour trading volume is $1,653,076,549 and the market capitalization is $9,486,541,179.