The Lightning Network is of great interest to most Bitcoin users as of right now. It is evident this technology will introduce a lot of new opportunities, assuming it works properly. It has become evident that hackers are targeting Lightning Network nodes these days, but some users got their revenge in a sweet manner.
The Lightning Nodes Shall not be Hacked
Whenever new technology comes around, people with less than honest intentions will show an interest in these developments. Things are no different where the Lightning Network is concerned, by the look of things. A hacker – or hackers – attempted to breach one of the LN payment channels last week, but they were unsuccessful in doing so.
More specifically, it seems someone put together a piece of software to attack LND nodes on the network. This was to be expected, as payment channels opened between nodes can contain a significant amount of Bitcoin. If someone were able to hijack such payment channels, things would get very interesting for hackers and quite worrisome for Bitcoin users. Luckily, it seems hacking such payment channels isn’t necessarily a slam dunk.
Could you please explain what is happening here? Someone is punished by losing their BTC connected to the channel?
— BLOCKCHAINZ (@camerongrey) March 26, 2018
The Twitter exchange above explains how a remote peer breached the LN payment channel contract. That in itself is extremely worrisome, as it shows all payment channels may very well be subject to outside interference. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean people can steal money without a hitch. In this case, the assailant lost money in the process, which goes to show crime does not always pay.
Unlike what the attacker may have expected, he or she did not gain any money from breaching this LND payment channel. Although the breach itself was successful, the hacker lost 0.00299095 BTC, as it was swept from their wallet instead of the other way around. Although people may be concerned about this degree of “vindication”, it is only fair that people with dishonorable intentions should be punished for their efforts. Having them lose money is the only viable course of action, by the look of things.
The node that the hacker connected to swept and recovered all the funds in the channel. While the hacker seemingly attempted to broadcast an older commitment transaction, the LND node noticed that this attempt was sketchy and decided to take its own revenge. That’s quite an interesting way of turning things around, but it is evident that the Lightning Network should not be trifled with whatsoever.
All of this goes to show that people who try to trick LN nodes are disincentivized from doing so. While some attempts may be successful, hackers are forced to put up an equal amount of BTC to that which they are trying to steal. The prospect of losing a lot of money will make most people think twice before attacking these payment channels.