Ethereum Browser Bug Could Put User Funds At Risk

Using ethereum browser Mist may put cryptocurrency private keys at risk, according to an Ethereum Foundation blog post.

AccessTimeIconDec 15, 2017 at 12:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:16 a.m. UTC
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Using ethereum browser Mist may put cryptocurrency private keys at risk, according to an Ethereum Foundation blog post published today.

The threat arises from a newly discovered vulnerability, which the blog post classifies as "high severity," and impacts all existing versions of the browser. However, Mist browser compatible Ethereum Wallet is not affected, the post clarifies.

As a result, Mist users are urged to avoid "untrusted" websites, and to default to Ethereum Wallet to manage any funds.

The vulnerability stems from the underlying software framework, Electron. Electron's delay in upgrading to correct known security issues has led to "an increasing potential attack surface as time passes," the post's author, Mist developer Everton Fraga, said.

As a result, Mist is considering migrating to a fork of Electron from Brave – named Muon – that has a more frequent release schedule.

In the post, Fraga stressed that Mist is still in beta mode, and users that engage with the browser do so without warranty.

He said:

"The Mist Browser beta is provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis and there are no warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, warranties of merchantability or fitness of purpose."

The developer further described security as a "never-ending battle" in browser development, writing: "making a browser (an app that loads untrusted code) that handles private keys is a challenging task."

Sponsored by the Ethereum Foundation, Mist is the most popular ethereum browser for browsing decentralized applications (dapps).

Code image via Shutterstock

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