Evil Under the Sun: Understanding and Discovering Attacks on Ethereum Decentralized Applications

Authors: 

Liya Su, Indiana University Bloomington and Institute of Information Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences; Xinyue Shen, Indiana University Bloomington and Alibaba Group; Xiangyu Du, Indiana University Bloomington and Institute of Information Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences; Xiaojing Liao, XiaoFeng Wang, and Luyi Xing, Indiana University Bloomington; Baoxu Liu, Institute of Information Engineering, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences

Abstract: 

The popularity of Ethereum decentralized applications (Dapps) also brings in new security risks: it has been reported that these Dapps have been under various kinds of attacks from cybercriminals to gain profit. To the best of our knowledge, little has been done so far to understand this new cybercrime, in terms of its scope, criminal footprints and attack operational intents, not to mention any efforts to investigate these attack incidents automatically on a large scale. In this paper, we performed the first measurement study on real-world Dapp attack instances to recover critical threat intelligence (e.g., kill chain and attack patterns). Utilizing such threat intelligence, we proposed the first technique DEFIER to automatically investigate attack incidents on a large scale. Running DEFIER on 2.3 million transactions from 104 Ethereum on-chain Dapps, we were able to identify 476,342 exploit transactions on 85 target Dapps, which related to 75 0-day victim Dapps and 17K previously-unknown attacker EOAs. To the best of our knowledge, it is the largest Ethereum on-chain Dapp attack incidents dataset ever reported.

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BibTeX
@inproceedings {263810,
author = {Liya Su and Xinyue Shen and Xiangyu Du and Xiaojing Liao and XiaoFeng Wang and Luyi Xing and Baoxu Liu},
title = {Evil Under the Sun: Understanding and Discovering Attacks on Ethereum Decentralized Applications},
booktitle = {30th {USENIX} Security Symposium ({USENIX} Security 21)},
year = {2021},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity21/presentation/su},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = aug,
}