Crypto: Foiled 18,000 attacks on Phantom
The world of cryptocurrencies attracts many criminals due to easy access to money. An interesting story in this regard is that of Phantom Wallet.
In a long mail published last week on the official blog, Phantom explains what are the key points regarding the security of the wallet.
Phantom is a non-custodial crypto wallet designed to be secure, yet easy to use, and is used by the Solana community as it specifically supports that blockchain.
Ghost wallet: crypto attacks averted
In the post, the authors highlight the Transaction Previews feature, which allows users to view a sort of preview of transactions, somewhat similar to a firewall that identifies malicious transactions and warns the user before approving them.
This protects users from phishing, pharming and other attacks by providing real-time alerts to users. The alerts are provided by the specialist company Blowfish.
Puffer fish analyze transactions before they are finally approved by users, looking for anything that looks suspicious.
The authors of the post say that, so far, Phantom’s transaction preview has scanned more than 85 million transactions, thereby preventing more than 18,000 fraudulent transactions aimed at stealing users’ funds. In the last month alone, over 3,000 users would have been protected in this way.
Therefore, these are not direct attacks on the wallet, which being unattended are very difficult to attack, but aimed directly at users.
In particular, Blowfish discovered many transactions going to addresses they blacklisted, or calling the setAuthority function incorrectly, or trying to evade checks. In some cases, actual attempts to drain the unsuspecting user’s wallet have been discovered.
Blowfish monitors suspicious domains or websites, as well as suspicious tokens or attempts to obfuscate code in smart contracts.
So while these are not attacks directed at Phantom Wallet, they are still detected by Blowfish through external analytics regarding various tools and actors within the cryptocurrency sector.
On the other hand, it is known that there have been, and continue to be, many successful attacks aimed at deceptively seizing the tokens of the users of this and other wallets.
Indeed, it is impossible to verify all smart contracts and all recipient addresses, and often, even during verification, it is difficult to find out whether it is really a scam attempt or not.
Ideally, users themselves should have to try to defend themselves, because it is impossible to completely prevent them from sending funds to scammers. However, surely help can come from services that know the sector very well and are therefore able to warn users of possible problems.
The percentage is low
It is worth noting that of the 85 million transactions reviewed on Phantom, only 18,000 were found to be suspicious. While it’s by no means certain that there weren’t others that escaped Blowfish’s control as well, 18,000 out of 85 million is about 0.02%, which is a negligible percentage. It means that 99.98% of transactions were not suspicious.
To be honest, however, the big attacks that make thir tokens a lot of money are not the ones aimed at small investors. They are mainly those aimed at smart contracts or exchanges, where huge amounts of funds are deposited.
In these cases it is rarely phishing or social engineering, but often real hacks that exploit technical vulnerabilities.
Non-custodial wallets, such as Phantom, generally do not have these vulnerabilities, especially when their code is open-source, i.e. public and verifiable by anyone.
Therefore, hackers rarely turn their attention to non-custodial wallets, but prefer tools or platforms that may suffer from some technical vulnerability and can yield them huge profits if they are breached.
Instead, scammers prefer to target ordinary users, exploiting not the vulnerabilities of their wallets but those of their behavior, especially ignorance, carelessness and superficiality.
Despite this, the overall percentage of suspicious or fraudulent transactions within the crypto industry is not particularly high, as the vast majority of transactions are correct and legitimate.
The problem is that, in some cases, huge quantities of tokens are stolen with few fraudulent transactions, so that multimillion or even billion dollar thefts in this sector are not as rare as one would like.