August 13, 2022

In keeping with THORChain’s treasury report for Q1 2022 launched on April 1, the chain registered a progress in income regardless of the twofold impression of persistent market sluggishness and extremely unstable geopolitical elements. Public information exhibits that THORChain recorded $2.17 billion in income in Q1 2022. THORChain, acclaimed because the “cross-chain model of UniSwap”, gained a foothold within the cross-chain buying and selling market counting on its distinctive benefits and earned intensive recognition amongst traders.

Behind all these glamours, THORChain can be deeply troubled by hacking. The chain suffered frequent safety breaches because it was launched on Ethereum, a incontrovertible fact that casts doubt on its safety. On April 11, THORChain tweeted about phishing assaults, warning customers to not work together with [DeTHOR] or different unknown tokens inside their wallets, which as soon as once more raised issues about its safety points.

Whereas constructing a sound safety system for CoinEx merchandise, the CoinEx safety group additionally retains monitor of safety incidents within the blockchain area to assist customers higher perceive the safety of various tasks from the angle of technical safety and mitigate the funding threat. Aiming to enhance the safety standards for the blockchain sector, the CoinEx safety group has analyzed the safety dangers of THORChain (RUNE). The group hopes that THORChain might be aware and mitigate the next dangers by optimizing the related good contract codes. As well as, this text can be a warning for customers, reminding them to be extra conscious of asset safety and keep away from asset losses.

How safe is THORChain (RUNE)?

By means of evaluation of the contract code and logic of THORChain (RUNE), the CoinEx safety group has discovered the next dangers:

To start with, let’s take a look at the contract code of THORChain (RUNE):

We will inform that RUNE is a reasonably normal ERC-20 token. It needs to be famous that aside from the ERC-20 interface, THORChain (RUNE) affords a further interface:

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In keeping with transferTo (as proven within the image above), THORChain (RUNE) makes use of tx.origin, which is likely one of the causes behind its safety dangers. Right here, we must always clarify the distinction between tx.origin and msg.sender:

The beneath image describes what occurs when a daily tackle calls the good contract:

In such circumstances, msg.sender = account.tackle, and tx.origin = account.tackle, which signifies that msg.sender is simply the identical as tx.origin.

The next is what occurs when an account calls contract A, and contract A calls contract B:

When contract A calls contract B (as proven above), we will inform that msg.sender equals tx.origin in contract A.

Nonetheless, in contract B, msg.sender = contractA.tackle, whereas tx.origin = account.tackle. Subsequently, tx.origin is sort of a world variable that traverses all the name stack and returns the tackle of the account that initially despatched the transaction. That is the important thing difficulty: so far, nearly all identified assaults in opposition to THORChain (RUNE) relate to tx.origin.

Let’s now learn how attackers steal customers’ RUNE tokens by tx.origin:

Assault No.1: Pilfer a Goat from a Herd

Addresses on Ethereum are divided into exterior addresses and contract addresses. Transferring ETH to those two kinds of addresses by exterior addresses is basically completely different. The Official Documentation of solidity states {that a} contract tackle should implement a obtain Ether operate earlier than making transfers.

In mild of the options of tx.origin, hackers might construct an Assault contract:

When the Assault contract receives an ETH switch from a person, it would “pilfer a goat from a herd” — the contract will steal the person’s RUNE tokens within the course of.

Assault No.2: Inside Assault

An Inside Assault is a particular kind of assault. When making an attempt to steal a person’s RUNE by an Inside Assault, the hacker must have a medium token. Furthermore, the token should additionally name third-party contracts. In keeping with the switch data of RUNE on Ethereum, some attackers hacked RUNE by AMP Token transfers.

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AMP Token makes use of the ERC-1820 normal to handle Hook registration and look at whether or not Hook is registered upon every switch. If Hook has been registered, then the Hook can be known as.

The contract code of AMP Token exhibits that the ultimate implementation of the switch is: _transferByPartition. In the meantime, there are two calls involving transferHook: _callPreTransferHooks (earlier than the switch) and _callPostTransferHooks (after the switch). Particularly, _callPreTransferHooks is for the from tackle, whereas _callPostTransferHooks is for the to deal with (i.e. the receiving tackle).

For normal customers, stealing tokens from themselves is pointless. Subsequently, attackers might exploit _callPostTransferHooks. Let’s now take a look at the codes of _callPostTransferHooks.


We will inform that the one callback that attackers might exploit is IAmpTokensRecipient(recipientImplementation).tokensReceived()

Subsequent, we are going to illustrate how this name can be utilized to switch a person’s RUNE whereas making an AMP Token switch.

Step 1: A name contract is required (as proven beneath):

Step 2: Deploy the contract to acquire the Assault Handle.

Step 3: Name the ERC-1820 contract interface (setInterfaceImplementer) to register the interface.

ERC-1820 Handle: 0x1820a4B7618BdE71Dce8cdc73aAB6C95905faD24

Contract interface: setInterfaceImplementer(tackle toAddr, bytes32 interfaceHash, tackle implementer)

Particularly, toAddr is the receiving tackle of the AMP switch,



interfaceHash is the hash of AmpTokensRecipient:


Implementer is the Assault Handle obtained in Step 2.

Step 4: Lure a person to switch AMP to the toAddr to set off a callback, and steal his RUNE on the similar time.

Assault No.3: Phishing Assault

As its identify suggests, in a phishing assault, the attacker guarantees to present away unbelievable advantages to lure customers into performing sure contract operations. Right here, we are going to introduce a typical phishing assault.

Step 1: The attacker points an ERC-20 token, and will write it into any contract interface that includes signatures.

Step 2: Create a buying and selling pair on Uniswap or some other swap;

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Step 3: Provide airdrops to all customers/addresses who maintain RUNE tokens;

The preliminary work of the phishing assault is mainly accomplished by the above these steps. Subsequent, the attacker solely has to attend for customers to commerce on a swap, and customers threat dropping their RUNE as soon as they carry out operations comparable to approve, switch, and so on.

As well as, with a purpose to additional confirm the safety threat of THORChain contract code, CoinEx has mentioned with the safety group from SlowMist and PeckShield, two well-known safety companies within the trade. Confirmed by SlowMist and PeckShield, the safety threat talked about above does exist.

To this point, we now have coated a number of kinds of assaults, in addition to the safety dangers that customers are uncovered to.

How ought to the challenge group optimize the contract code to make itself safer and shield customers’ property?

The one reply is to be cautious about utilizing tx.origin.

How can common customers mitigate dangers and shield their property within the face of assaults that appear unavoidable? The CoinEx safety group affords the next recommendations:

  1. For Assault No.1: When making a switch, preserve monitor of the estimated Fuel consumption. For a daily ETH switch, a Fuel payment of 21,000 is greater than sufficient. Watch out if the Fuel consumption far exceeds that determine.
  2. For Assault No.2: Isolate your tokens by adopting completely different wallets. You may retailer completely different tokens in numerous addresses. Additional warning is required with regards to the recent pockets tackle supplied by exchanges.
  3. For Assault No.3: Greed is the supply of all evil. Don’t blindly take part in any airdrop occasion.

Safety has at all times been a prime concern within the blockchain sector. All gamers, together with challenge groups and exchanges, ought to prioritize safety throughout challenge operation, preserve customers’ property protected and safe, and collectively promote the sound progress of the blockchain trade.