Web3 security basics

Most people are familiar with the term Web2 as it refers to the version of the Internet that most of us are acquainted with today. Web2 became a breakthrough as it allowed users to contribute data to the web, for example by uploading files or posting content. This shift brought new security risks by creating a way for malicious parties to compromise websites, upload malware-infected files, leak sensitive information, and more.

Web3 is the next step in the evolution of the Internet, as users now not only read and contribute data but also own it. Unlike Web2 owned by centralised entities or corporations, Web3 brings forth the power of decentralisation. It puts the power back in the hands of the individuals who build, operate, and own the network.

Web3 security state

While Web3 addresses many of the problems and vulnerabilities of Web2 technology, it still inherits some of Web2’s vulnerabilities – and introduces a new set of attack vectors and loopholes waiting to be exploited by malicious parties.

Web3 technology and decentralised applications are still in the early stages of their evolution. It means that innovation and new developments are accompanied by security compromises and trade-offs, just like with any other system. In the wrong hands, the pinnacles of the Web3 world – transparency, anonymity and decentralisation – can also become a double-edged sword. The is no centralised authority to enforce general rules or oversee the development process. Open-source idealogy invites contributors and malicious actors alike – and makes it easier to find bugs and exploit the code. Anonymity allows hackers to evade the law and run away with stolen funds.

Web3 Security Services

New challenges also create new solutions—and as a response to the wave of security incidents that have swept the Web3 space over the years, new security solutions have emerged.

Some of them are older than others, but they still can fit into one security framework:

  • Security auditing is still the first thing people look for when evaluating the security of the Web3 protocol. However, it is increasingly clear that audits alone are not enough to ensure the security of a network or a single Web3 application.
  • Stress testing, real-time monitoring and debugging tools are another part of the ongoing security process, allowing developers to monitor smart contract activity, stress test contracts simulating various conditions, and more.
  • Bug bounties provide additional incentives to discover vulnerabilities or possible holes in  smart contracts – the community contributes as individual security auditors.
  • Risk management solutions are the latest primitives in the Web3 space. Protocols like Gauntlet, Apostro, ChaosLabs, etc. use various practices – financial modelling, machine learning, simulations – to protect the protocol from attacks or rapidly changing market conditions.

Looking into the future

The Web3 ecosystem and Web3 security are inseparable — one cannot move forward without the other evolving. New security solutions provide a safer environment for new teams to work on new Web3 applications. And evolution and progress made on that same application is a driving force for Web3 security, as innovation always comes with risks and challenges. At the current fast pace of growth, the Web3 space will most definitely bring more exciting things to the world – and more web3 security services will enter the market in the coming years.