Does The Merge Make Ethereum More Vulnerable to Malicious Attacks? Security Expert Explains.
While the entire crypto community welcomes the Ethereum merge with open arms, one cybersecurity researcher says that the proof-of-stake (PoS) system might not provide more defense against hackers than proof-of-work (PoW). The individual heavily requested not to have his name mentioned for safety purposes. He works as a blockchain developer for a P layer-2 blockchain.
According to the researcher’s statement to CoinTelegraph, the exploit could theoretically happen after the adoption of Ethereum. If validators line up two consecutive blocks for validation, an attacker could see this as an opportunity to exploit.
Anonymous Researcher Elaborates
He spoke about PoS making it easier for hackers to jump in and take the money quickly compared to the PC-focused PoW mining. Based on his discovery, if an exploiter can control two consecutive blocks, he can begin the process on block N and conclude it on block N+1. The attacker may not need an “arbitrage bot coming in and fixing the price that you have manipulated in between.”
Another reason why PoW is “safer” is that miners rely on “luck” than certified percentages. A 3rd party miner cannot exploit this because the random numbers give them no time to make attack plans. This means that validation in PoW networks is uncertain, putting no time and schedule when the cryptocurrency arrives.
However, he also said that PoS has “sufficient practical security” and would not mean anything if it is considered more prone to hacks than PoW. PoS still includes a system with tight security, although ETH developers constantly work on improving the consecutive block issue. If the problem is solved, PoS security will earn a significant defense boost to counter-attack vectors.
Validators will check all incoming transactions properly. If they discover suspicious movements involved, like bugs and exploits, they have every right to slash the ETH stake of the host.
According to BlockNative, The Merge will occur on September 15, 2:30 am UTC.
PoS vs. PoW in a Nutshell
In simple terms, PoS is the more streamlined and straightforward method to earn a specific cryptocurrency. Initially, significant coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum were mined using Proof-of-Work via computers with powerful GPUs and specialized mining PCs. The problem of PoW lies in its constant need to consume plenty of energy, causing a significant power issue, especially during the hyped years of 2016 to 2018. It is also a slow (yet safer) way to earn BTC or ETH without buying in exchanges.
PoS changes all that and replaces the need for a powerful PC with legitimate staking pools. Here, users can show that they own a specific number of tokens supported in the blockchain. This results in lower energy consumption because the mining blocks do not require a lot of power, and nodes within the network develop governance norms to build up immunity against centralization.
Block selection is based on coin ownership, rewarding users who stake their owned crypto. Block rewards come for those that pool their staking power while validating new blocks.
However, while PoS is already an existing system for some altcoins like Polygon and Cardano, PoS in Ethereum proves that it can evolve to something more effective yet efficient than hardware-based mining.