NANO: Spam attack leads to partial network outage

The cryptocurrency NANO has a serious problem: Because NANO’s network was flooded with spam transfers, there were significant delays in transfers. Help is in sight.

Actually, NANO was looking forward to improving the network with the V22 update at the end of the week. But then reports surfaced on social media that masses of mini-transfers from NANO were circulating and virtually clogging up the network. Other users reported that their transactions with NANO were not confirmed for hours. A node operator at NANO revealed that his nodes were out of sync, indicating more serious problems. NANO founder Colin LeMahieu is now asking for the capacity of nodes to be artificially throttled so that the network can slowly build itself back up reliably.

Background to the spam attack on NANO

NANO is technologically not based on a blockchain, but on so-called Direct Acyclic Graphs (DAG), similar to IOTA. This solution scores points for being fee-free, but is vulnerable to targeted attacks, as recent events have shown. With little effort, attackers managed to overload the capacities at NANO. Since NANO is used for online casinos, for example, this also put a stop to use cases.

What LeMahieu is proposing now is a stopgap solution. If the nodes, as network nodes, intentionally lower their performance, all nodes can indeed get back to the same level. But the process drags on, and it also provides no guarantee that the attacks won’t happen again.

As far as we know, the attack is not aimed at credit balances. It is possible that they planned an extortion attempt or simply wanted to show that NANO is technically on shaky ground. Meanwhile, LeMahieu believes that the problems can be solved with an update. This could include blocking suspected spam addresses.

Conclusion: NANO is experiencing difficult times

NANO is designed as a means of payment in the online world. A network outage or even hours of waiting for a transfer to be confirmed make payment transactions with NANO virtually impossible. It is also surprising that NANO does not communicate the current problems on Twitter or on its blog, but limits itself to Reddit, Discord and Github. Now it will be a matter of winning back trust for LeMahieu’s team. In addition to the emergency solution with throttled capacities, a way should be found that rules out a repetition of successful spam attacks.

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