Vitalik Buterin and his employees want to get the risk of hacker attacks on the network under control with an update. An algorithm should be able to distinguish „honest“ from „suspicious“ block suggestions.
Modified Exponential Subjective Scoring (Modified Exponential-Subjective Scoring: MESS) will make it more difficult for hackers to carry out successful 51 percent attacks. You would have to use significantly more computing power (hash rate) to replace blocks that have already been „mined“.
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Ethereum Classic is a platform that is based on the proof-of-work principle. The miner, who digs the next block with his computing power, sends the success message to the entire network. All other miners can easily check whether they have complied with the network-specific rules. If this is the case (ergo the majority agrees), the blockchain is expanded to include the same block. With Ethereum Classic, this happens every 13 seconds.
In a 51 percent attack, however, hackers bypass the network check by using more than half of the computing power themselves. So they are both producer and inspector, which opens up a number of possibilities for them. The more energy you invest in computing power, the more blocks you can rewrite in the blockchain: With Bitcoin Machine you can manipulate transactions that have already been made at will. In the case of blockchains with many miners (and thus a high hash rate), however, a 51 percent attack is almost hopeless.
However, it is not impossible. In the recent past, 51 percent attacks have plagued the network relatively often . Isaac Ardis, one of the main developers of the network, believes that such attacks will always be possible on any blockchain. The MESS principle now makes this more difficult. Reorganizing the most recently mined blocks can be helpful. However, if a reorganization reaches back dozens, hundreds or even thousands of blocks, it is noticeable. If blocks were created on the Ethereum Classic blockchain more than ten minutes ago (i.e. they are more than 46 blocks ago), a mechanism now takes effect.
Depending on the number of blocks, the required computing power increases by a factor between 1 and 31 so that the network considers the reorganization to be legitimate. So if a hacker wants to change blocks, he now has to muster significantly more computing power than before. It is becoming increasingly unlikely that the effort will still be worth it.
Compatibility with multiple software versions
No hard fork, i.e. a split in the blockchain, is necessary for the implementation. If an attack takes place, miners using the update will reject the attacker. Old version miners will be at the mercy of the attack. However, the developers of Ethereum Classic assume that hackers only act in the short term and opportunistically. Therefore, righteous miners can rejoin the blockchain later.
The network is the „original“ of the blockchain published in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin. After a hacker attack, however, it split: Today’s larger Ethereum is the name of the younger blockchain, while on Ethereum Classic the unchanged history of the network can be traced back to the beginning. If Ethereum goes over to the proof-of-stake principle, another hope, some miners will come to the original. This would also increase the security of this blockchain.