When bugs are discovered in nodes and core files, developers urge the community to update to the latest client version as soon as possible in order to prevent an attack. Parity – a popular Ethereum client – has recently discovered a bug that will cause public nodes running Parity to crash. If attackers take out enough of these nodes then the network could become vulnerable to a 51% attack, devastating the Ethereum Network beyond repair. The affected nodes are those running versions from before 2.9-stable and 2.3.2-beta.
Not All Nodes are Affected
Due to the way the bug works, only nodes that serve JSONRPC to third parties can be attacked. All the attacker has to do is craft a special Remote Procedure Call (RPC) request to a public Parity Ethereum node. Once the attacker has sent the RPC request, the node will instantly crash. Fortunately, the configuration needed for this bug to be a major issue is not the standard, meaning users who are affected by the bug will have had to manually set up their node in this way. Even if you’re running an Ethereum node with Parity, it’s still wise to upgrade to the latest version to be on the safe side.
Ethereum Classic Falls Prey to a 51% Attack
If enough nodes were to go offline, a 51% attack would require less resources, making the network incredibly vulnerable. Earlier this year, we saw Ethereum classic get hit by a 51% attack that resulted in the theft of 219,500 ETC tokens. Instead of disabling nodes to make the job easier, attackers used brute force and flooded the network with hash rate, giving themselves the majority of the power. This results in the attackers being able to rewrite the entire history of the blockchain and essentially crush the network into oblivion.
Pigeon Coin Didn’t Update in Time
There are a lot of cryptos out there that are forks of other cryptos. This means that if a bug is detected on the original version of the fork, then the forked version is likely to have the same bug. In September 2018, a major bug was spotted in the Bitcoin code that would allow attackers to create as many Bitcoin as they wanted. However, this bug was pathed and forks of Bitcoin also updated their code too. Yet, Pigeon coin failed to patch this bug and an attacker printed 235 million Pigeoncoins, totally destroying the value of the crypto.
Keeping your node client up to date is vital, especially when warned to do so by the developers. Not only are you keeping the network safe by upgrading the client version, but you’re also keeping your investments safer as well. Don’t waste your staked crypto because you couldn’t be bothered to update.