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Ethereum Merge Makes Network More Vulnerable to Attack — Security Expert

by SuperiorInvest

Despite Ethereum Merge being touted as a major upgrade to the blockchain network, its move to proof-of-stake theoretically makes it more vulnerable to abuse.

In an interview with Cointelegraph, a security researcher explained that unlike proof-of-work (PoW) systems proof-of-stake (PoS) system. it informs node validators in advance what blocks they will be validating, allowing them to plan attacks.

The security expert, who did not wish to be named, is a blockchain developer and security researcher working on proof-of-stake layer-2 blockchain.

The researcher explained that a post-merger Ethereum blockchain could theoretically be exploited if validators manage to line up two consecutive blocks for validation.

“If you control two consecutive blocks, you can start the exploit on block N and finish it on block N+1 without some arbitrage bot stepping in and fixing the price you manipulated in between.”

“In terms of economic security [this vulnerability] it is relatively easier to fend off these attacks.”

The expert said that while it is also possible for miners to verify consecutive blocks in PoW networks – this is “pure luck” and does not give the miner time to plan an attack.

As a result, the security researcher claims that Ethereum will lose some strength in security when the merger takes effect:

“As we stand now. [with] Ethereum proof-of-work versus Ethereum proof-of-stake, Ethereum proof-of-work has stronger security […] and economic guarantees.”

“But that’s what they say. […] proof of bet [still] has sufficient practical security [and] it doesn’t really matter that it’s theoretically not as secure as proof-of-work. It’s still a very secure system,” he added.

Related: Buterin and Armstrong consider proof-of-stake shift as Ethereum Merge approaches

The security expert added that “Ethereum is working on a fix [the consecutive block issue].

It’s a hard problem to solve, but if it works, then it will be proof-of-stake security [further] increase [as] they will have protection against these attack vectors.”

Ethereum validators are subject to PoS hacking, because consensus rules were designed to economically incentivize validators to correctly validate incoming transactions and any other behavior otherwise would mean a reduction in their share of ETH.

The Ethereum Merge is finally set to take place on September 15th at about 2:30 UTC, according to to Blocknative’s Ethereum Merge countdown. The move to PoS is set to make the Ethereum network more scalable and energy efficient.

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