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Volume 10 Issue 8
Aug.  2023

IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica

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Article Contents
L. Duan, Y. Y. Sun, W. Ni, W. P. Ding, J. Q. Liu, and  W. Wang,  “Attacks against cross-chain systems and defense approaches: A contemporary survey,” IEEE/CAA J. Autom. Sinica, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 1647–1667, Aug. 2023. doi: 10.1109/JAS.2023.123642
Citation: L. Duan, Y. Y. Sun, W. Ni, W. P. Ding, J. Q. Liu, and  W. Wang,  “Attacks against cross-chain systems and defense approaches: A contemporary survey,” IEEE/CAA J. Autom. Sinica, vol. 10, no. 8, pp. 1647–1667, Aug. 2023. doi: 10.1109/JAS.2023.123642

Attacks Against Cross-Chain Systems and Defense Approaches: A Contemporary Survey

doi: 10.1109/JAS.2023.123642
Funds:  This work was supported by the Beijing Natural Science Foundation (4212008), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (62272031), the Open Foundation of Information Security Evaluation Center of Civil Aviation, Civil Aviation University of China (ISECCA-202101), Guangxi Key Laboratory of Cryptography and Information Security (GCIS201915), and was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U21A20463, U22B2027)
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  • The blockchain cross-chain is a significant technology for inter-chain interconnection and value transfer among different blockchain networks. Cross-chain overcomes the “information island” problem of the closed blockchain network and is increasingly applied to multiple critical areas such as finance and the internet of things (IoT). Blockchain can be divided into three main categories of blockchain networks: public blockchains, private blockchains, and consortium blockchains. However, there are differences in block structures, consensus mechanisms, and complex working mechanisms among heterogeneous blockchains. The fragility of the cross-chain system itself makes the cross-chain system face some potential security and privacy threats. This paper discusses security defects on the cross-chain implementation mechanism, and discusses the impact of the structural features of blockchain networks on cross-chain security. In terms of cross-chain intercommunication, a cross-chain attack can be divided into a multi-chain combination attack, native chain attack, and inter-chain attack diffusion. Then various security threats and attack paths faced by the cross-chain system are analyzed. At last, the corresponding security defense methods of cross-chain security threats and future research directions for cross-chain applications are put forward.


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    • We present security defects in the technical principles and implementation mechanisms of cross-chains, such as notary, hash-locking, and sidechain/relay mechanism, and discuss the impact of the structures and characteristics of blockchain systems on cross-chain security
    • We analyze different cross-chain attacks from multiple dimensions, such as multi-chain combination attacks, native chain attacks, and inter-chain attack diffusion, and subsequently investigate the attack principle and attack path corresponding to each attack
    • We explore the multi-level, inter-chain risk control method structure and intelligent defense approaches for cross-chain systems, and point out future research directions in cross-chain secure applications, such as metaverse, sixth-generation (6G) communication systems, edge intelligent computing, digital economy, Web 3.0, and artificial intelligence (AI)


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