Dean Pappas, developer relations manager at Ethereum Classic Labs (ETC Labs), reveals that the mechanism to prevent 51% attacks on the ETC blockchain is inching closer to release. How will it stop attackers?
Introducing MESS, a much-anticipated security mechanism for ETC
According to the official introductory blog post, Modified Exponential Security Scoring, or MESS, is a finality algorithm designed through the collaboration of ETC Core developers, OpenRelay and ChainSafe cybersecurity vendors. In a nutshell, it would make a 51 percent attack against Ethereum Classic (ETC) 3,000 percent more expensive than it is today.
An Elegant MESS— The Fast Solution to 51% attacks and Low Hash Rate by @McDappas, our Developer Relations Manager. Click the link to learn more about its benefits and next steps. https://t.co/yAyYDqpXwg— Ethereum Classic Labs (@etclabs) September 18, 2020
As a result, the malefactor would now have to spend at least $20 mln to perform this attack. Even with this monstrous expense, it would not be easy to gather a great enough hashrate to carry out this malicious activity.
With MESS, all Ethereum Classic (ETC) miners will receive their rewards as intended even with reduced confirmation time. As a concept, MESS is built around the "heaviest chain wins" principle. The nodes are seeking the shortest way to connect with each other, so it becomes impossible for the attacker to gain control over ETC building a long chain.
Mr. Pappas stressed that MESS will be implemented without chain splits and in the nearest possible term. It should be tested in the sandbox environment with hypothetical attacks simulated and 150 nodes. Implementation is designed within the Core-Geth network client.
Big step for Ethereum Classic (ETC)
At press time, MESS specification is under discussion in Ethereum Classic Improvement Proposals GitHub repository as a "pre-release." First, it allows MESS to be tested on Mordor testnet. Then, experiments with the new mechanism will migrate to the dedicated "MESSNet" environment.
As covered by CryptoComes previously, Ethereum Classic (ETC) network was repeatedly targeted by 51 percent attacks during 2020. The malefactors initiated very serious chain splits. One of those "unintended reorganizations" was more than 3,000 blocks deep.
After numerous effective attacks, some centralized exchanges halted deposits and withdrawals for Ethereum Classic (ETC) token holders. Also, ETC was slammed by Weiss Crypto Ratings after being plagued by a 51 percent attack for the second time in a week.