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  • Writer's pictureIntra Blocks

Unpacking the Gas Token Scam and Strategies for Counteraction

As the blockchain domain expands and evolves, it inevitably faces complex security challenges. One such recent incident has highlighted the emergence of a sophisticated scam exploiting Ethereum's legacy 'gas token' concept and capitalizing on mass approval revocations. Shoutout to RevokeCash and Blanker.eth for bring attention to this. This article elucidates the mechanics of this scam, provides an insight into its working, and proffers strategies to counter such nefarious activities.

Dissecting the Gas Token Scam

The genesis of the scam lies in a situation prompted by the movement of MultichainOrg's fund. This event led security tools such as RevokeCash and Rabby_io to advise users to revoke their approvals for Multichain. An opportunistic malefactor capitalized on this scenario by introducing a counterfeit ERC-20 token on BNBCHAIN. Ingeniously designed, this token was architected to consume an exorbitant amount of gas, inducing unwitting users to mint $CHI tokens (also known as gas tokens) that directly benefit the contract deployer.

Mechanics of the Scam

At the core of this deceptive operation is the manipulation of the `approve()` function within the counterfeit ERC-20 contract. The malefactor alters this function and manually forges approvals for an extensive array of on-chain addresses. Subsequently, security tools alert users to revoke their approvals. The twist resides in the process of revocation - the compromised `approve()` function guzzles an unusual quantum of gas, leading users to unwittingly mint gas tokens for the contract deployer.

Upon executing the revocation, the freshly minted $CHI tokens get directed to the scammer's wallet. The transaction cleverly masquerades as a high gas fee, sidestepping any user alerts pertaining to the transfer of funds. Current estimates indicate that the malefactor has accumulated approximately 70k $CHI tokens, aggregating to a value of $400.

Counteracting the Scam: Precautionary Measures and Countermeasures

In response to this intricate scam, Revoke Cash has implemented a preventative measure that disables the revocation of approvals when an exorbitant gas fee is detected. This functionality is expressly designed to mitigate scams that involve the creation and airdropping of spurious tokens, followed by the forging of approvals that users feel compelled to revoke. The scam typically concludes with the malefactor profiting from gas tokens minted during the revocation process.

In addition to these technical countermeasures, vigilance on the part of users is paramount in averting such scams. It is advisable to exercise caution and meticulously scrutinize transactions, particularly those involving high gas fees.

Advocacy for the Integration of EIP-3298

To preemptively thwart such fraudulent exploits, there is a growing demand for BNBCHAIN to expedite the integration of EIP-3298. This proposal advocates the abolition of the gas refund for `SELFDESTRUCT` and `SSTORE`. By eliminating this loophole, the proposal aims to fortify the security landscape and mitigate the exploitation by potential scammers.

Concluding Reflections

The widespread implications of this scam underscore the potential for similar incidents across other chains. This is a salient reminder of the importance of continual vigilance and innovation in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sector. As we navigate this dynamic landscape, let's prioritize security by adopting robust tools and practices to safeguard ourselves against the ever-evolving schemes of malefactors.


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