TL;DR: “We have investigated reports of some Parity Ethereum nodes not syncing and believe there may be an attack underway,” the company announced recently. Parity Ethereum bills itself as powering the network’s core, “handling over $50 billion in assets and underpinning some of the most ambitious projects in the blockchain space.”
Parity Ethereum Believes Its Nodes are Under Attack
Sergio Demian Lerner, a cryptocurrency security consultant, explained the attack as “simple: you send to a Parity node a block with invalid transactions, but valid header (borrowed from another block). The node will mark the block header as invalid and ban this block header forever but the header is still valid,” underscoring the importance of treating data from outside the network as malicious by default, forcing it to prove otherwise.
Nodes not syncing is no small matter. Parity Ethereum claims to handle some $50 billion in assets, and an inability to sync nodes could cause major disruptions for the world’s second most popular cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Prior to the company’s formal blog post and social media notice, associated Ethereum purveyors were alerting followers to contingency plans should things turn worse.
“Ethereum Parity Client is currently facing some syncing issues and @ParityTech is looking into them right now,” Gnosis CTO Stefan George relayed on the same day Parity’s GitHub detailed problems. “Going forward Parity will receive continuous support by Gnosis and others. The client will be maintained.” For its part, the Parity Tech GitHub noted, “Parity refuses to import valid Ethereum mainnet block #11355. Today we started to see errors like the following in multiple of our Parity 2.5.12 nodes. After the error the client stops syncing and only resumes syncing after a restart. According to etherchain & etherscan the block in the error log is valid.”
One GitHub commenter recalled, “We’ve been seeing parity nodes falling out of sync on the 2.6.x beta branch and just dying over the past two weeks.” Parity Ethereum urged nodes to update their software, thereby presumably fending off the attack which was unspecified, as was any fallout, at press time. The company also developed the much-hyped Polkadot Web 3.0 platform. It has not commented, however, since December 31st, 2019 as to the exact nature of the problem or whether it has been completely resolved.
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