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One of the contributing threat factors that has recently made nearly all PoW consensus mechanism Blockchains susceptible to 51% attacks has been the decline of mining profits leading to excess amounts of cheap hash power.
Most sources available explain the complexity of those attacks and showcase PoS and 3rd party solutions as a good measure for protecting against such attacks. One solution would involve rolling back the blockchain which would still harm the miners, investors, and holders of Pirl. While a PoS consensus mechanism is also vulnerable other kinds of attacks such as “Nothing-At-Stake” attack.
After thorough research and analysis of blockchain security methods, the Pirl team did not view any of the currently available options as acceptable long-term preventable measures against these types of attacks. This left the team with the only possible choice available, to develop a new Security Protocol.
In order to understand the PirlGuard Protocol including the how and why behind Pirl developing the innovative solution, you must understand how a 51% attack works. We encourage you to read one of the detailed educational articles on the subject.
Simplified attack mechanics summarized in a few key moments.
A) The attacker needs to mine his own version of the blockchain in private with hashrate greater than the one on the main network in order to be faster and create a longer chain. This is often a race for 10-20-50 blocks. Making it considerably easily achievable.
B) Once he is in possession of a longer blockchain on his private unpeered node he needs to broadcast it to the main network. Typically the network will accept his longer chain with all its reorganization.
C) A successful attack would orphan the blocks and reverse the transactions in which he spent his coins making them available in his wallet once again.
How PirlGuard works?
In order to disrupt the mechanics behind 51% attack that allows an attacker to be successful, we have deployed a core solution with a modified consensus algorithm that will defend our blockchain and many others in the near future from virtually all 51% attacks.
With the PirlGuard Protocol deployed, the chances of an attack succeeding are vastly reduced. As we know once the attacker has created a longer chain through privately mining a separate chain they will then have to broadcast it to the network. Once the attacker opens their node for peering it will attempt to peer with rest of the nodes on the network, telling them that they are wrong. However, once this happens PirlGuard will drop the peer and penalize them by sentencing them to mine X amount of penalty blocks due to their un-peered mining. The amount of penalty blocks assigned depends on the number of blocks that the malicious miner mined in private.
The PirlGuard security protocol greatly deters attackers from attempting malicious peering giving the main network a much-needed boost in security. This new security mechanism reduces the chances to approximately 0.03%.
Masternode operated notary contracts on multiple blockchains and monitoring system.
The masternodes will take upon a new role altogether with their other utility functions. They will notarize the blockchain and be allowed to act in the processes of penalizing bad actors and preserve honest consensus on the Pirl blockchain.
In case of an attacker is still determined to apply a large amount of funds and resources to attempt their luck(0.03% chance), and somehow succeeds to enforce a longer chain onto the network a newly initialized orphan monitoring system will detect the reorganizations of orphaned blocks which will alert the team to take necessary actions and countermeasures.
As an additional safety measure, the notary contract will be deployed both on Pirl and Ethereum blockchains.
Increasing the amount of required confirmations for exchanges.
An additional measure that will be implemented is a higher requirement of block confirmations on exchanges to validate deposits. Another step towards making an attack close to impossible and not even worth an attackers time.
Pirl has so far contributed to blockchain by developing the first Ethash code based masternode network, the first private IPFS implementation running over a masternode network and is currently working on their own private encrypted blockchain storage solution.
The PirlGuard Security Protocol will be added to our open source library along with the core of the project.
At Pirl we are developing to revolutionize and streamline blockchain technology for the entire blockchain industry. This means our code will be available to anyone to study, educate, test, modify or apply towards their own blockchain network security against future 51% attacks.
Source Code: https://git.pirl.io/community/pirl
Images by: CoinMonks & Jimi S.