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Web 3.0: The Future of the Internet and its Cybersecurity Features and Challenges | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

The World Wide Web, now simply referred to as the Internet, is by far the most significant technological revolution in tech history. The current generation of the internet is Web 2.0, which allows users to browse and write content powered by centralized data centers. Today the cyber world is rapidly progressing towards Web 3.0.

Web 3.0 is a decentralized database where users have complete control of their data without the need for a third-party platform to facilitate the content, and it is also an intelligent version equipped with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Semantic Web. Web 3.0 also brings blockchain as a core feature. The decentralized record of transactions provides cryptocurrency with enhanced security, transparency, and immutability.

Cybersecurity features of Web 3.0

Identity native – Vast amount of data breaches occurred in Web 2.0, and people had less control over what organizations did to their data. In Web 3.0, people have complete ownership and control of their data, which allows them to authorize access to their data with smart contracts and defend against privacy risks.

Zero trust – Unlike Web 2.0, where businesses were given unlimited trust with their customers’ data and services, Web 3.0 operates on a zero trust principle, with data directly flowing peer-to-peer through decentralized apps.

Decentralized applications (dApps) – dApps are software programs that operate on a blockchain or peer-to-peer network. They ensure privacy, provide freedom from censorship, and offer flexible development without centralized control.

Decentralized technologies – Technologies such as Decentralized finance (DeFi) is an intermediary-free financial systems enabling transparent borrowing, lending, and sharing of digital assets. It enhances accessibility to financial services by eliminating third-party involvement. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) enable the creation, replication, and transfer of digital assets such as gaming items, digital art, and collectibles.

Cybersecurity risks of Web 3.0

Web 3.0 introduces new advantages, but along with them come additional risks and challenges. While Web 3.0 addresses important issues of its predecessors, it also brings advanced vulnerabilities requiring careful attention.

Novel attack types

Novel attack methods distinct from traditional attacks relevant to blockchain networks and interfaces will be introduced.

  • Smart contract logic hacks and flash loan attacks – Smart contracts are blockchain-based programs that automatically execute agreements and streamline workflows without intermediaries. Smart contract logic hacks manipulate the programmed logic within blockchain services, which exploits services such as crypto-loan services, cryptocurrency wallets, and project governance. Flash loan attacks target smart contracts designed to facilitate flash loans into manipulating various inputs to the smart contract. Smart contacts also raise legal concerns since they are often not protected by the law or are fragmented across jurisdictions.
  • Sybil attack – Named after a 1976 movie about a person who experienced multiple personalities, this attack creates multiple fake identities in a peer network to gain control or influence over the network.
  • Cryptojacking – Threat actors install crypto-mining software on victims to compromise digital wallets and access keys.
  • Rug pulls – False attention and hype are created around a project only to steal investors` funds.
  • Ice phishing – Threat actors convince users to delegate token approval by signing a transaction.
  • Metaverse attacks – “Human Joystick” attacks manipulate users in the Metaverse, unknowingly relocating them in physical space, potentially exposing their avatar to physical danger. A “chaperone attack” alters virtual environment boundaries, undermines security measures, and distorts space perception, hindering assistance and identification of real-world boundaries during immersive VR sessions. While these occur in virtual reality, victims have described negative physiological and emotional responses to these offensive events.

Data reliability and confidentiality – Due to decentralized data management, the accuracy, authenticity, and validity of the data published remain a question. It may lead to misinformation and security issues, and AI models will ingest these invalid data. Data availability issues arise since great control lies with end-user nodes, processes, and applications, which can be negatively affected if data becomes unavailable. Data can also be subjected to manipulation if a threat actor gains unauthorized access. Techniques such as injecting malicious scripts, eavesdropping or intercepting unencrypted data, and wallet cloning are used.

Privacy and compliance – There are doubts regarding the privacy of the information that is published on and off the blockchain. While anonymity improves privacy, it also raises questions of accountability and liability. Decentralized IDs pose challenges for existing regulations in distinguishing between data controllers and data processors when it comes to Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Following are best practices in mitigating risks of Web 3.0

  • Incorporate security-by-design principles – Developers should build their designs, products, and infrastructures in Web 3.0 with security in mind. It`s necessary to include traditional security principles, secure defaults, and a zero trust framework.
  • Choose the right type of blockchain for your business – Types such as public or private blockchains are available today, each with its own complexities. Hybrid infrastructures like sidechains, multichains, cross-chains, federations, oracles, and other components impact speed, efficiency, and resilience. Therefore, it is crucial for the security team to consider these factors when choosing a blockchain system.
  • Use attack prevention techniques – Addressing common threats and avoiding risks unique to blockchain architectures. Using data validation and evaluation controls and security controls that decide what should be on and off the blockchain to avoid data manipulation attacks.
  • Stay informed and seek professional guidance – Stay informed about the latest trends, technologies, best practices, threats, and vulnerabilities in Web 3.0, and seek professional guidance whenever you are unsure of what security measures suit your business.

Web 3.0 offers powerful possibilities along with unique cybersecurity challenges. Its decentralized blockchain technology increases privacy and data control but also results in various advanced novel threats and attacks that organizations need to be aware of. By embracing the potential of Web 3.0, it is crucial that organizations adopt the best security practices and measures to protect data and resources.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire.


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