Ethereum is often praised as a superior version of Bitcoin. The Ethereum blockchain was developed recently. Its designers had experience with Bitcoin and knew the weaknesses in the older currency. They developed Ethereum to solve the inefficiencies and shortcomings that were present in the Bitcoin platform.
How Ethereum is Better Than Bitcoin
Ethereum queries can be resolved much faster than queries in Bitcoin. They require lower processing power than Bitcoin,, allowing node miners to charge a lower transaction cost to users compared to the number one cryptocurrency.
Ethereum also has a higher supply limit. Additionally, the developers have integrated proof of stake mining, something that is not present in the Bitcoin protocol. Finally, Ethereum makes use of additional layers through smart contracts. The currency receives regular updates making it a better choice in every way.
Understanding Eclipse Attack
Researchers from Boston University released a report recently that identifies significant problems in the Ethereum protocol. The report shows that an attack on the Ethereum platform may allow people to double-spend ether on a particular node on the network.
Double spending happens when a person uses the same crypto coin for making two separate transactions. The P2P Blockchain authentication was originally meant to stop this from taking place. However, research shows that it is possible to get away with this on the Ethereum network using high-quality, sophisticated hacking equipment.
Ethereum developers became aware of the problems in their system earlier this year and updated the system to take care of the problem in the middle of February.
The hack was developed by a team of computer scientists at the Boston University and named the eclipse attack.
The attack works by separating a single node on a cryptocurrency’s platform. The hacker gains complete control of the information flow from and to the node. This puts the node in a state of eclipse as it is shadowed from other nodes on the Ethereum network.
The Blockchain network relies on constant authentication from all connected nodes on the network. In the case where a hacker tries to manipulate a wrong entry on a single node, it would be checked against the wider network. If it is incorrect, it will be rejected by the peer network and the target node would be able to correct its own ledger.
However, an eclipse attack puts the target in a perpetual state of cut-off from the rest of the network. This allows the hacker to pass incorrect entries to the node.
While the larger network would not be affected, any buyers or sellers attempting a transaction through the affected node would end up losing their investments.
Ethereum Remains Volatile
It appears that Ethereum has been affected by the negative report. The alt coin dropped below $700 for the first time in 2018. This happened at a time when Bitcoin manages to hover around $9,000.
Other major alt coins like Ripple and Litecoin also declined however none of them have been affected as badly as Ethereum.
Fortunately, Ethereum has a good support network behind it. We can hope they will update the platform to guard against any such eclipse attacks in the future.