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Understanding Web3 security

Understanding Web3 security

By: Aiza Gill

Most people are acquainted with the term Web2 as it refers to the internet version most of us know today. With Web2, users can contribute data to the Web, for example by posting content. This shift introduced new security risks as it created a way for malicious parties to compromise websites, infect content with malware, leak sensitive information and more.

Web3 is the next step in the evolution of the internet as users now not only read and contribute data, but they also own it. Web3 is all about decentralisation – in contrast to Web2 owned by centralised entities or corporations, Web3 puts the power back in the hand of individuals who build, operate and own the network.

State of Security in Web3

While Web3 solves many of the problems and vulnerabilities present in Web2 technology, it still inherits some of the Web2 pain points – and introduces a new set of possible attacks and vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited by the malicious actors.

Web3 technology – and decentralised applications – are still in the early development stages. As so, it means not only innovation and new primitives but also security trade-offs, just like any other system. Transparency, anonymity and decentralisation – pinnacles of the Web3 world – can also be a double-edged sword. There is no centralised party to oversee or take charge of security practices; anonymity allows hackers to elude the law and run away with stolen funds; open-sourcing the code increases community contribution – but also makes it easier for malicious actors to exploit the protocol.

Web3 Security Services

New challenges also create new solutions – and with the wave of security incidents that happened in the Web3 space over the years, new security solutions are coming to the market as well.

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There are various security solutions in the space:

  • Security audits continue to be the primary thing people look for when assessing Web3 protocol’s security. However, it is becoming more apparent that audits alone are not enough to guarantee the safety of the network or standalone application.
  • Stress-tests and real-time monitoring are another part of a continuous security process allowing developers to monitor smart contract activity, emulate different conditions to stress-test the contract and so on.
  • Bug bounties provide additional layer of incentives to find bugs or possible vulnerabilities in the smart contracts or code – with community contributing as individual security auditors.
  • Risk management solutions are the newest primitives in the Web3 space. Protocols such as Gauntlet, Apostro, ChaosLabs use various financial models and simulations to safeguard protocols against attacks or market conditions.

The Road Ahead

Web3 ecosystem and web3 security are inextricably linked – one cannot continue to move forward without the other. We need new security solutions and services to continue web3 space development, and at the same time the security can’t evolve without growing ecosystem of protocols and chains. As Web3 space grows at a fast pace, we will most definitely see more web3 security services entering the market in the coming years.

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