Sidetangle Attack on IOTA Reveals DAG Susceptibility

As the Internet-of-Things keep expanding, the need for interoperability and sharing of resources become a necessity. IOTA enables companies to explore new business-2-business models by making every technological resource a potential service to be traded on an open market in real time, with no fees.
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Sidetangle Attack on IOTA Reveals DAG Susceptibility

Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:11 pm

The IOTA network, referred to as the tangle, has been under siege recently by a sidetangle, which is a parasitic chain of transactions produced by a hacker. The sidetangle has been stitched to the maintangle, causing nodes to crash and slowing down the entire network. This has revealed a susceptibility for directed acyclic graph (DAG) based cryptocurrencies.

IOTA is the most popular and widely used DAG cryptocurrency, with a market cap of USD 2.7 billion and trading volume in excess of USD 50 million per day. Most cryptocurrencies use a blockchain, which requires adding transactions to a chain of all previous transactions. Each Bitcoin node must use the full transaction history of Bitcoin to confirm new transactions. With IOTA’s DAG, users only need to verify two previous transactions, which is deemed far more computationally efficient and allows for a fee-free system.

Apparently, the nature of IOTA’s transaction verification system can be exploited by hackers by creating a sidetangle, which is considered a parasite chain. A sidetangle is built by selecting tips that only reference themselves, making the transactions unlikely to confirm. The hacker can create millions of transactions like this, which forms the sidetangle, and these transactions never confirm. ... ptibility/

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