Recent reports highlight how a renowned blockchain explorer, Etherscan.io was hacked on Monday, calling into question the potential that this style of hack could have in manipulating the markets in the future.
Etherscan.io is a website used to explore the Ethereum blockchain. Blockchain explorers are the premise of transparency and act as a location through which anybody can view transactions on the network, in this instance, the Ethereum network. Now of course, within Etherscan and other similar sites, no crypto is held or directly traded, instead is is a window, yes the blockchain is visible but it can’t be altered or amended from here, so to speak.
Therefore, within the recent Etherscan hack, no details, data or crypto was compromised. Instead though, this calls something a little more interesting into question.
To give you some background, the Etherscan hack on Monday simply allowed a pop-up to appear on users screens that said ‘1337’. The internet and ‘leet’ savvy among us will note that this translates to elite, and is a notation often used to indicate that a website had been hacked. Due to the demographic of those using blockchain explorers, it didn’t take long for Etherscan customers to notice what had happened.
The important thing here is this- hackers have managed to change the way the blockchain explorer looks. They have altered and manipulated what the viewers can see. Therefore, it is possible to suggest that hackers could make the most of this vulnerability to change what users of the explorer are seeing, in order to manipulate the markets. They could use this to simulate coin dumps, mass sell offs or even bigger issues on the blockchain that would in turn encourage people to actually start to sell, or buy, in turn totally altering the market. Since the hackers can use this to accurately predict price changes, they in turn will profit, simply just from a benign alteration of what is visible on a blockchain explorer website.
By falsifying figures and graphs, actual and real market values will change, this is a very dangerous prospect indeed. We haven’t seen this happen yet, the ‘1337’ hack of Etherscan.io could exist of a sign of things to come.
Our advice – be super careful. Use websites you trust and do your research. Just because one website says Bitcoin is crashing to $200.00 it doesn’t mean it’s true. Be extensive and rely on as many websites as you can, that way, you’re far less likely to fall victim to this.