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Possible Vulnerabilities on the NFT Marketplace OpenSea

NFT traders wrote on Twitter that they allegedly received official emails from OpenSea about the migration of smart contracts. Well-known security firm PeckShield reviewed the smart contracts and stated that the exploit in question was “most likely phishing.” A seemingly normal link hides a smart contract that hackers can use to gain access to NFTs.

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Leading NFT marketplace OpenSea is investigating “rumors of an exploit” related to smart contracts associated with its platform. Earlier, a series of tweets from concerned NFT traders went viral. The vulnerability could have cost them many valuable NFTs.

The following was posted on OpenSea’s Twitter account: “We are actively investigating rumors of an exploit related to OpenSea smart contracts. It appears to be a phishing attack originating from outside the OpenSea website. People should not click on links outside of opensea.io.”

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Phishing on the NFT marketplace OpenSea

NFT traders wrote on Twitter that they allegedly received official emails from OpenSea about the migration of smart contracts.

Well-known security firm PeckShield reviewed the smart contracts and stated that the exploit in question was “most likely phishing.” A seemingly normal link hides a smart contract that hackers can use to gain access to NFTs. PeckShield cited emails about the migration process as a possible source of the link.

The alleged attacker’s address contains about $1.7 million worth of Ether, as well as two Cool Cats NFTs, three Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs, a Doodle NFT, and an Azuki NFT. Etherscan subsequently placed a “phish/hack” warning label on the address.

OpenSea was planning to change its smart contract (basically the code for its trading platform) by releasing a brand new contract on Friday. The idea was that the updated contract would take care of deleting old and inactive listings on OpenSea.

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Last month, the company sent users a short email with the subject “Clarification on Cancelling Inactive Listings.” The email reminded users to delete old listings.

The problem with smart contracts

The cancellation of an old listing is still an on-chain transaction, meaning it is added to the very end of the blockchain. Cybercriminals looking for new transactions might notice someone deleting an old entry. As a result, they start digging through the other old entries to find an offer below market price.

Some hackers pay an additional fee to front-run a cancellation and make a sale before the user can complete the transaction. Frontrunning is a common problem on Ethereum and other proof-of-work blockchains.

OpenSea has not been able to fix the issue at the time of writing. Most recently, the following announcement was published: “Our team has been working around the clock to investigate the specific details of this phishing attack. While we haven’t yet determined the exact source, we wanted to share a couple of EOD updates.”

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(Featured image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer CC BY 2.0  via Flickr)

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J. Frank Sigerson is a business and financial journalist primarily covering crypto, cannabis, crowdfunding, technology, and marketing. He also writes about the movers and shakers in the stock market, especially in biotech, healthcare, mining, and blockchain. In the past, he has shared his thoughts on IT and design, social media, pop culture, food and wine, TV, film, and music. His works have been published in Investing.com, Equities.com, Seeking Alpha, Mogul, Small Cap Network, CNN, Technology.org, among others.