Security and Protocol release notes  [DigitalBits Core]

Purpose of this document

This document describes changes to the DigitalBits protocol as well as other changes made to address security issues.

It is organized as a reverse chronological timeline of releases.

Protocol updates

  • Changes to SCP.
  • Changes to the DigitalBits Protocol (anything that modifies how the distributed ledger functions, including historical data).

Security issues

  • DDoS.
  • Crashes (that could lead to remote code execution).
  • Other attacks that can be exploited (inside or outside of the DigitalBits protocol).

Goals for this document

  • have a summary view of changes that affect the code base (digitalbits-core has to be able to replay all ledgers generated since genesis on the DigitalBits public network).
  • drive transparency on issues that affected the network in the past as well as their impact.

Security issues disclosure policy

(does not apply to protocol changes that are not security related)

The goal is work with the larger security community on a responsible disclosure model.

Format of each report

  • tag-name - security - description of the problem and impact

    • exploited - yes/no/unknown
      • if yes: description of the attacks that took place (with timeline).
    • mitigation: code fix, etc
  • tag-name - protocol - description of the protocol change

Tags used in this document

  • Overlay - subsystem used by peers to communicate to each other
  • Herder - subsystem coordinating all other subsystems
  • SCP - subsystem implementing SCP
  • Ledger - Ledger management including transaction subsystem
  • History - History subsystem

List of releases

v15.0.0 (2020-10-27)

  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0023 - Fixed LedgerKey input validation issue

v14.1.1 (2020-10-01)

  • Ledger - security - fixed potential local state corruption when applying transactions from history archive
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v14.1.0 (2020-09-28)

  • Ledger - security - fixed potential non deterministic computation of best offer
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v14.0.0 (2020-08-20)

  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0023 - Two-Part Payments with ClaimableBalanceEntry
  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0033 - Sponsored Reserve
  • SCP - protocol - CAP0034 - Preserve Transaction-Set/Close-Time Affinity During Nomination
  • SCP - security - fix an edge case that could lead to nominating an invalid close time
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v13.2.0 (2020-06-30)

  • SCP - security - fixed crash that could be triggered when receiving out of order messages at the wrong time
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v13.1.0 (2020-05-29)

  • Overlay - security - remote crash via unhandled exception during connection handshake (DoS)
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
    • bug bounty: ahook

v13.0.0 (2020-04-29)

  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0015 - Fee-Bump Transactions
  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0018 - Fine-Grained Control of Authorization (eg. AUTHORIZED_TO_MAINTAIN_LIABILITIES_FLAG)
  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0027 - First-class multiplexed accounts
  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0028 - Clear pre-auth transaction signer on failed transactions
  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0030 - Remove NO_ISSUER Operation Results

v12.1.0 (2019-10-24)

  • SCP - protocol - added CRITICAL quality to quorum config generator

v12.0.0 (2019-09-30)

  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0024 - Make PathPayment symmetrical
  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0025 - Remove bucket shadowing
  • Ledger - protocol - CAP0026 - Disable inflation

v11.4.0 (2019-08-28)

  • Herder - security - connection string to the database could be logged unencrypted
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v11.2.0 (2019-06-27)

  • SCP - protocol - switch to auto generated quorum configuration
  • SCP - protocol - persist SCP messages across restarts, increasing the chance of propagating externalize messages
  • SCP - protocol - added quorum intersection monitoring
  • Ledger - protocol - changed to reject a ledger containing an unknown upgrade instead of corrupting the local ledger state

v11.1.0 (2019-05-23)

  • Ledger - security - crash when processing bad archive files
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
  • Overlay - security - ignore SCP messages from a previous incarnation of the network (testnet reset)
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v11.0.0 (2019-04-24)

  • Ledger - protocol - implementing CAP0005 (Transaction pricing improvement)

  • Ledger - protocol - implementing CAP0006 (ManageBuyOffer)

  • Ledger - protocol - implementing CAP0020 (Bucket Initial Entries)

  • Overlay - security - memory exhaustion from validators not in Quorum (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
    • bug bounty: ahook
  • SCP - protocol - attach validator ID to values introduced by that validator

v10.0.0 (2018-09-05)

  • Ledger - protocol - new bumpSeqOp, implementing CAP0001

  • Ledger - protocol - updated signature verification, to be done at transaction apply step. implements CAP0002

  • Ledger - protocol - add liabilities to offers, implements CAP0003

  • Ledger - security - rounding error could allow dust trades to make large error.

    • exploited: yes
      • over the course of a few weeks preceding the upgrade to 10, some bots performed dust trades.
      • Impact is determined by the ratio between assets. For example with P=1/20,000 a rounding error of 10E-7 (1 in absolute term), is equivalent to a 20,000:1 error (effective P is 1.0 instead of 1/20,000)
    • mitigation: CAP0004 implemented in protocol 10
  • Ledger - protocol - fast fail attempts to changeTrustOp on native.

  • Ledger - protocol - fast fail setOptionsOp when attempting to set weight of a signer to more than 255.

v9.2.0 (2018-03-20)

  • Herder - protocol - properly compute next ledger start time (could lead to rounds starting too early).

  • SCP - protocol - make timing out of the ballot counters less aggressive (reduce overall SCP time to close a ledger).

v9.1.0 (2018-01-18)

  • Overlay - security - stack overflow when processing bad xdr (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
  • History - protocol - some snapshot files could be corrupt when generated (rendering them unusable)

v9.0.1 (2017-12-20)

  • SCP - protocol - allow values to be validated differently during nomination and ballot protocol (used to be potentially more strict for the values generated during nomination)

  • Herder - protocol - change the way upgrades are managed to be “one time triggers” instead of being on all the time

v9.0.0 (2017-12-08)

  • Overlay - peer could perform multiple handshakes in parallel denying other nodes from connecting (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
  • Overlay - all peers got dropped when node was getting overloaded by a single peer (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
  • Ledger - security - overflow in base reserve computation would allow certain operation to reduce the balance below reserve.

    • exploited: unknown
      • while it was possible to take the balance below reserve, this would simply make accounts unusable until more DigitalBits were sent to the account.
    • mitigation: code fix
  • Ledger - protocol - manageOffer now computes the amount of DigitalBits that can be sold as if the offer was created

  • Ledger - protocol - make BASE_RESERVE configurable

  • Ledger - protocol - update fee processing check to not double count fee (allows to spend the last minfee amount from an account)

  • Ledger - protocol - updated protocol version to 9

v0.6.2 (2017-04-30)

  • Ledger - security - invalid use of cached data could lead to digitalbit creation (double spend) or destruction

    • exploited: yes
      • rogue transactions caused new DigitalBits to be created, not accounted for in total coins
    • mitigation:
      • code fix
      • in order to restore the ledger to its expected number of coins, the foundation burned DigitalBits using one of the bugs fixed in this release (pathPaymentOp), practically speaking this ended up being equivalent to a forced distribution of DigitalBits by the foundation.
      • invariant for total coins implemented
  • Ledger - protocol - updated protocol version to 8 (2017-04-26)

  • Ledger - protocol - inflation fix: properly update totalCoins that are re-injected in feePool (due to rounding or deleted winners), was causing totalCoins to not match the actual sum of all coins in existence

  • Ledger - protocol - don’t use cached data when sending to self using pathPaymentOp

  • Ledger - protocol - never cache account data between operations

v0.6.1d (not widely released - 2017-04-26)

  • Ledger - protocol - updated protocol version to 7

  • Ledger - protocol - temporary disable signature verification in preparation for version 8 that contains fixes for caching problems

v0.6.1c (not widely released - 2017-04-08)

  • Ledger - security - merge account could be called on an account already merged in the same ledger, causing the DigitalBits balance of the doubly merged account to be credited multiple times into the destination account

    • exploited: yes
      • rogue transactions caused new DigitalBits to be created, not accounted for in total coins
    • mitigation:
      • another minimal code fix scoped to merge account was implemented to stop the updated pattern of transactions exploiting the bug while working on complete fix
      • additional monitoring of network activity
  • Ledger - protocol - updated protocol version to 6

  • Ledger - protocol - reload balance of source account when merging accounts (bad fix)

v0.6.1b (not widely released - 2017-04-06)

  • Ledger - security - merge account could be called on an account already merged in the same ledger, causing the DigitalBits balance of the doubly merged account to be credited multiple times into the destination account

    • exploited: yes
      • rogue transactions caused new DigitalBits to be created, not accounted for in total coins
    • mitigation:
      • minimal code fix implemented to stop known pattern of transactions exploiting the bug
      • additional monitoring of network activity
  • Ledger - protocol - updated protocol version to 5

  • Ledger - protocol - don’t allow merging accounts from non-existant accounts (bad fix)

v0.6.1 (2017-03-07)

  • Ledger - protocol - updated protocol version to 4

  • Ledger - protocol - ensure that ManageData cannot be used on unsupported on protocol version smaller than (and including) 3

v0.6.0 (2017-02-07)

  • Ledger - protocol - updated protocol version to 3

  • Ledger - protocol - perform additional checks when sending to self (make failures consistent with non self payments of non-native assets)

  • Ledger - protocol - updated order book’s rounding (avoid double round down when dealing with dust trades)

  • Ledger - protocol - added hash(tx) and hash(X) as signing methods

  • Ledger - protocol - do not allow to call AllowTrustOp and ChangeTrustOp on self

  • Ledger - protocol - do not allow to create an offer with an amount of 0 (would fail as if it deleted an offer)

  • Ledger - protocol - properly set lastModifiedLedgerSeq for DataEntry

  • SCP - protocol - limit number of validators in a quorum set to a smaller value

  • Overlay - security - node would cache data that it didn’t request, potentially purging data that it would need from cache (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v0.5.0 (2016-04-11)

  • Ledger - protocol - added support for DataEntry and ManageDataOp

v0.4.0 (2015-12-21)

  • Herder - security - arbitrary validators on the network could send messages, causing validators to use up all their memory (DDoS)
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v0.3.2 (2015-11-23)

  • SCP - security - bad sequence of messages could lead to node crashing (DDoS)
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v0.3.1 (2015-11-18)

  • SCP - protocol - adjustments based on the whitepaper updates as of November 17 2015

v0.3.0 (2015-11-16)

  • Overlay - security - busy loop when peers were claiming to have data they don’t have (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
  • SCP - protocol - adjustments based on the whitepaper updates as of November 2015

v0.2.5 (2015-11-06)

  • Overlay - security - bad peers would be retried, bypassing the PREFERRED_PEERS setting (DDoS)
    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix

v0.2 (2015-10-12)

  • Overlay - security - partial messages not handled properly could lead to busy peers (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
  • Herder - security - creation of unknown slots would allow malicious peers to allocate memory (DDoS)

    • exploited: no
    • mitigation: code fix
  • SCP - protocol - additional validation of quorum sets


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