Automating cryptanalysis of LN and mempool

Automating cryptanalysis of LN and mempool

Original Postby Nagaev Boris

Posted on: March 13, 2024 23:17 UTC

Last year, the discovery of the replacement cycling attack posed a significant challenge to the analysis of the mempool and Lightning Network (LN), revealing the complexity of ensuring LN's security.

Despite initial optimism, proposed solutions to this problem have proved ineffective upon closer examination. The ongoing discussion in the thread titled "OP_Expire and Coinbase-Like Behavior: Making HTLCs Safer by Letting Transactions Expire Safely" highlights the community's efforts to address these vulnerabilities.

The search for automated tools or frameworks capable of performing cryptanalysis on this issue is of keen interest. Such tools would ideally help in formally verifying the security of the Lightning Network against fund loss under certain assumptions. A proof assistant could be particularly useful for this purpose. Alternatively, a framework designed to model interactions between multiple nodes, including potential adversarial actions, could facilitate the automatic identification of attack vectors. This approach would involve random experimentation with different strategies to uncover profitable malicious behaviors, utilizing known attacks as benchmarks for testing.

Unfortunately, attempts to locate existing work or tools that meet these criteria have been unsuccessful. However, the Scaling Lightning project offers some hope by providing an environment where several real nodes are run. This project could serve as a practical platform for verifying theoretical findings and strengthening the Lightning Network's defenses against such sophisticated attacks.