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Ethereum’s Etherscan Combats Hacking Attempt




Hackers tried to use the comments section of Etherscan to infiltrate the website.

According to an official Etherscan announcement via reddit on Monday, random JavaScript alerts containing the text "1337" popped up on the block explorer website. A hacker (or hackers) injected the alerts into the summarized comments section provided by Disqus, a third-party comment hosting service. Etherscan identified the offending comment, seen below:


The organization said no systems were compromised besides the appearance of pop-up alerts. Immediately after receiving user reports regarding the suspicious activity, Etherscan disabled the Disqus comments section and tested a patch to encode footer comments to prevent future attacks. The block explorer has also applied a patch to address "un-escaped javascript exploits" on its top comments sections.

Upon further investigation, Etherscan discovered there were three attempts to inject the "1337" alert. The organization said the first attempt seemed non-malicious in nature, whereas the following two attempts originated from a party associated with Etherscan. Additionally, there was an attempt to inject a Web3 JavaScript application programming interface (API), although this was stopped by the block explorer's backend.

Etherscan went on to dispel any fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Disqus, asserting that the comments were encoded, but the APIs were not.

When asked if funds would be safe, Etherscan replied, "Yes, funds are safe. We will post a more detailed follow up later." A Disqus developer suggested the phrase "message" should be used in the code rather than "raw_message." The block explorer's admin said it would "implement the suggestion."

However, another redditor suggested the attack was a precursor for something potentially more malicious, stating:

"Often in penetration testing you would do small tests that could look more like errors or vandalism but you're still finding holes poked in the frame. One of those holes might open up to something much more important than just creating a popup."

Based on this insight, the injected code could have been an early attempt at a phishing scam, like to obtain users' private keys.

Dani Putney

Dani is a full-time writer for ETHNews. He received his bachelor's degree in English writing from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he also studied journalism and queer theory. In his free time, he writes poetry, plays the piano, and fangirls over fictional characters. He lives with his partner, three dogs, and two cats in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.

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