Low-Resource Eclipse Attacks on Ethereum's Peer-to-Peer Network
Yuval Marcus1 2, Ethan Heilman1, Sharon Goldberg1
1Boston University   2University of Pittsburgh

Abstract:     We present eclipse attacks on Ethereum nodes that exploit the peer-to-peer network used for neighbor discovery. Our attacks can be launched using only two hosts, each with a single IP address. Our eclipse attacker monopolizes all of the victim's incoming and outgoing connections, thus isolating the victim from the rest of its peers in the network. The attacker can then filter the victim's view of the blockchain, or co-opt the victim's computing power as part of more sophisticated attacks. We argue that these eclipse-attack vulnerabilities result from Ethereum's adoption of the Kademlia peer-to-peer protocol, and present countermeasures that both harden the network against eclipse attacks and cause it to behave differently from the traditional Kademlia protocol. Several of our countermeasures have been incorporated in the Ethereum geth 1.8 client released on February 14, 2018.

What Ethereum Users Should do:    Upgrade to geth 1.8.1 . Geth versions prior to 1.8 are vulnerable.

Read the paper:    Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2018/236

This material is based upon work supported by the US National Science Foundation under Grant 1350733. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors. The paper was disclosed via Ethereum's bug bounty program on January 9, 2018, and then lightly updated to reflect the patching applied to the Ethereum geth 1.8 (iceberg) client on February 18-27, 2018.