New Research to Question ETH's Decentralization

Only 3434 of 8933 ETH nodes are hosted on their own infrastructure, and 5499 use cloud services, mostly Amazon
24 September 2019   459

61.6% of Ethereum nodes are hosted on centralized cloud services, reports The Next Web, citing Chainstack research.

Using the information from ethernodes.org, the company compiled a complete list of Ethereum nodes, their IP addresses, and compared them with the data of the autonomous systems of the hosting providers. According to Chainstack, as of September 20, there were 8933 nodes in the Ethereum network. Only 3434 (38.4%) of them are hosted on their own infrastructure, and 5499 (61.6%) use cloud services.

Ethereum Nodes
Ethereum Nodes

The 10 largest cloud hosting providers accounted for 57.3% of the second cryptocurrency network nodes. Most Ethereum sites on Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounted for 25% of their total.

Ethereum Nodes Cloud Providers
Ethereum Nodes Cloud Providers

The study also found that a third (34%) of Ethereum cloud nodes are in the United States.

Potentional Vulnerabilities Found in ETH 2.0

Least Authority have found potentional security issues in the network P2P interaction and block proposal system
26 March 2020   921

Technology security firm Least Authority, at the request of the Ethereum Foundation, conducted an audit of the Ethereum 2.0 specifications and identified several potential vulnerabilities at once.

Least Authority said that developers need to solve problems with vulnerabilities in the network layer of peer-to-peer (P2P) interaction, as well as in the block proposal system. At the same time, the auditor noted that the specifications are "very well thought out and competent."

However, at the moment there is no large ecosystem based on PoS and using sharding in the world, so it is impossible to accurately assess the prospects for system stability.
Also, information security experts emphasized that the specifications did not pay enough attention to the description of the P2P network level and the system of records about Ethereum nodes. Vulnerability risks are also observed in the block proposal system and the messaging system between nodes.

Experts said that in the blockchains running on PoS, the choice of a new block is simple and no one can predict who will get the new block. In PoS systems, it is the block proposal system that decides whose block will fall into the blockchain, and this leads to the risk of data leakage. To solve the problem, auditors suggested using the mechanism of "Single Secret Leader Election" (SSLE).

As for the peer-to-peer exchange system, there is a danger of spam. There is no centralized node in the system that would evaluate the actions of other nodes, so a “malicious" node can spam the entire network with various messages without any special punishment. The solution to this problem may be to use special protocols for exchanging messages between nodes.