- attacks 51% have always represented a real nightmare for the cryptographic sector. Not only in practical terms, as they allow attackers to take control of a network and carve out the possibility of the feared double spending (the possibility of spending the same token twice, or even more, thus putting in place a real scam), but also of image.
A similar event, in fact, makes a system vulnerable to the maximum, which should not be absolutely vulnerable. As has happened recently, three times, ad Ethereum Classic.
Three attacks within a month
In fact, in August, Ethereum Classic was the subject of three 51% attacks, with the loss of millions of dollars, precisely due to the double spending made possible by them. The attackers were able to do it renting hash power from the Nice Hash provider for a negligible amount, a few thousand dollars. To then transmit a fraudulent version of the blockchain ETC to the other nodes of the network, which have accepted its legitimacy.
The recurrence of attacks on Ethereum Classic, since the beginning of its adventure, is explained by the fact that the network is supported by a low amount of hash power, but has great liquidity in terms of digital currency trading.
Therefore ideal conditions for those who intend to attack, as demonstrated by what happened in August. Which the development team had promised to fix since 2018, when a first 51% attack had jeopardized the project. Enough to ring the death knell for Ethereum Classic already at the time.
Ethereum Classic: now the revival is being tried
ETC's response has come in the form of an adoption that could help the network resist such attacks. This is the MESS modified exponential subjective score, a system which proposes the protection of the system subjected to this kind of stress.
Implemented on 11 October at block 11.380.000, the system invented by Vitalik Buterin in 2014 makes the nodes prefer the segments of the chain they see first over the next ones. This explains how it works ETC Labs, in a post published on his blog.
Is MESS the ideal solution?
Also ETC Labs then added that the system in question makes it about 31 times more expensive to attack the chain than it currently is. The reorganization it would give life to, in fact, would allow protection of 3 thousand blocks such as to imply a cost that would go beyond 20 million dollars. Thus making operations such as the one that was put into practice through Nice Hash practically impossible.
Is it really so? Second Crypto51, a website that specializes in cryptographic matters, this is not true. In a simulation conducted to try to calculate the real cost of conducting a 51% attack on a blockchain, for an hour, the current expense to do so on ETC would be just $ 4844. However, it remains to be seen whether this simulation was conducted without taking into account the data updated with the adoption of the MESS.