A well-known blockchain just got hacked, and no one seems to care.
The Ethereum blockchain was the target of a distributed denial of service hack this week. In plain English, DDoS attacks are when a hacker floods a network, leading to slowdowns and websites going down. Ethereum responded with a short term solution, changing its mining methodology until a permanent solution is reached.
Ethereum is a well-known blockchain, but not for all the best reasons. The blockchain got press early on when founder Vitalik Buterin decided to create a broader type of blockchain that incorporated smart contracts into its code.
The other way Ethereum may ring a bell is from the DAO failure and ensuing hard fork.
Now that the dust has settled on the DAO fiasco, insiders are regaining confidence in Ethereum. Some are even saying the blockchain is on the rise, and may even outgrow bitcoin.
Financial incumbents like Barclays, HSBC and Wells Fargo have run trial programs with Ethereum. Microsoft and Deloitte have also started looking into using the Ethereum blockchain.
Ethereum has more nodes today than Bitcoin. Prediction: it's lead will grow even as its blockchain size exceeds bitcoin's.
— Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) September 25, 2016
“I’m very excited about Ethereum,” said Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, in an interview with Fortune. “It’s probably the most exciting thing that’s happened in the whole space in a couple of years.”
So if Ethereum is getting hacked, why isn’t anyone writing about it? Where are all the articles discounting blockchain’s feasibility and security? Only a few cryptocurrency blogs have covered the hack, and no large media outlets have taken notice.
Some feel that the hack is actually a good thing, since hacking takes time and resources; this DDoS hack is costing the hacker four dollars and fifty cents a minute. Spending that much money on a hack gives Ethereum legitimacy when an individual or group is willing to shell out a ton of dough just to slow it down.
But the reason why no one seems to care is that blockchain hacks have become normal. Maybe we need to amend the famous maxim about guarantees of death, taxes, and blockchain hacks. People have become numb to blockchain attacks and aren’t surprised when another one happens.
The reason why a hacker would want to execute a DDoS attack on Ethereum is unclear. Most hackers target blockchains to steal funds, not just slow up the network. Past hacks have led to millions of dollars getting siphoned out of cryptocurrency wallets, but the DDoS attack is only slowing down the network without a loss of significant funds.
Motivations behind the attack could be a white knight trying to improve blockchain security. Conspiracy theorists and Mr. Robot watchers would point the finger at Chinese bitcoin miners trying to keep control of cryptocurrency supremacy. Or maybe it’s a rich college kid on a dare from friends.
Whatever the reasons, we should notice that the world isn’t noticing the latest blockchain hack.