Most people know the term Web2. It refers to what most of us know as the Internet today. Web2 version of the Internet allows users to contribute data to the web network, e.g. by posting content or uploading files. But this also opens up a way for security threats – malicious parties can compromise websites, add malware to files, leak sensitive information and more.
Web3 is the next logical step in the Internet evolution – now, apart from reading and contributing data, users also own it. That means that Web3 is all about decentralisation – and that is a huge contrast to Web2 where centralised entities or corporations own data. Web3 is about putting the power back in the hand of individuals – and that same individuals build, operate and own the network.
Web3 – state of security
Web2 had many problems and vulnerabilities – and while Web3 elegantly solved some of them, some pain points were still passed down to the Web3 world. Even more, with the new internet paradigm came a new set of possible attacks and vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited.
Web3 space – especially decentralised protocols – is still in the early stages of development. And as in any other system, innovation comes with security trade-offs and blind spots. Anonymity, transparency and decentralisation act as pinnacles of the Web3 world; but they can also become a door for vulnerability, acting as a double-edged sword.
What does it mean? Anonymity allows hackers to thrive – they can elude the law and run away with stolen funds with little to no trace to them. There is no one framework or rulebook to follow for the best security practices – they are invented on the go, and there is no centralised party to oversee them. While open source invites the community to contribute, it also eases the way for malicious actors to study, test and exploit protocol bugs.
Security services in Web3
Having told all this, fear not! With new challenges come new solutions – and with every exploit or vulnerability found in the protocol, comes a new framework or security solution to address it.
Let us name a few security solutions out in the open:
- Stress tests and real-time monitoring with tools like Tenderly are classic ways to conduct a continuous security process. It allows developers to monitor smart contract activity, emulate various contract conditions and interactions, stress-test the contract and so on.
- Security audits continue to be the primary source of security validation before launching the Web3 project to the public. However, it is becoming more evident that audits alone are not enough to guarantee application security.
- Risk management platforms are the newest addition to the Web3 security field. Protocols such as Gauntlet, Apostro, ChaosLabs use various traditional tools – quantitive models, simulations, monitoring and so on – to safeguard protocols against attacks or rapidly changing market conditions.
- Bug bounties act as incentivised programs to find bugs or possible vulnerabilities before they are exploited – with community members contributing as individual security auditors.
Future of Web3 security
To see where Web3 security future stand, you should first understand that Web3 exosystem and security are inextricably linked and move together. New security services and primitives allow a safer environment for new projects to launch, but without a growing ecosystem of protocols and chains, security development will stagnate. The Web3 sector grows at a fast pace, so we will most definitely see more web3 security solutions entering the market in the coming years.