The threats to web3 security have expanded into massive concerns for the future of web3. The losses due to web3 and smart contracts hacking attacks have not only led to financial consequences but also a broad range of issues regarding the trustworthiness of web3. People all over the world assume that web3 is the next stage in the evolution of the internet.
Web3 utilizes different technologies, such as blockchain and smart contracts, to offer a decentralized, persistent, and secure online experience. One of the biggest promises of web3 is the ability to empower users to take control of their data. As a web3 user, you would have complete control over who uses your data, how they use your data, and how long they can use your data. If you don’t like the way a third party uses your data, you can revoke their data access privileges.
From the outside, web3 seems like a well-guarded fort, immune to security threats. However, web3 and smart contracts security are in a dire state right now. The web3 industry lost almost $656 million within the first six months of 2023. Some of the most noticeable attacks included hacking, rug pulls, and phishing scams.
Smart contract vulnerabilities were responsible for around $264 million in losses, while phishing scams led to loss of $108.4 million. Therefore, the world of web3 needs security experts and auditors to protect web3 solutions and nurture trust in web3. However, it is important to reflect on the necessity of visualizing web3 and smart contract security from the perspective of hackers. Let us find a roadmap to becoming a certified or ethical web3 hacker in the following post.
Why Should You Learn Web3 and Smart Contract Hacking?
Before you find a clearly defined roadmap to become an ethical web3 and smart contract hacker, you should understand the reasons. Why should you learn web3 hacking when you can prepare for web3 security roles? The total amount of losses due to web3 security attacks in 2022 reached almost $3.7 billion. It is a massive figure in comparison to the previous year’s $1.3 billion.
The biggest web3 heist in 2022 was the Ronin bridge hack, which led to a loss of $625 million. On the other hand, smart contracts are also a crucial component in the web3 ecosystem, and vulnerabilities in smart contracts also create concerns for web3 security. According to Ethereum, the total amount of losses due to security issues in smart contracts easily crosses beyond $1 billion.
The threats to web3 security imply the necessity of safeguarding their foundations in smart contracts. You can notice how a smart contracts hacker could cause significant damage to the web3 ecosystem. On the other hand, a security professional with knowledge about the methods for hacking into web3 systems could change the game. Web3 security primarily revolves around smart contracts, and hackers seek vulnerabilities in smart contracts as their way in. As an ethical hacker, you can break into web3 solutions and their underlying smart contracts to identify vulnerabilities.
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What are Smart Contracts?
Smart contracts are programs running on Ethereum blockchain or EVM-compatible blockchain networks. The smart contract features a collection of code and data which is stored on a particular address on Ethereum blockchain.
What is Web3?
Another important highlight in a smart contract hacking tutorial points to the definition of web3. It is a decentralized version of the internet, which offers users the power to control their data and its applications. Web3 relies on the use of blockchain, a distributed ledger technology that stores information across different nodes in a network.
Blockchain provides a distinct definition to web3 with a different approach to structuring of data. You can explore blockchain fundamentals in detail to understand how it is a core component of web3. The most popular blockchain platform for web3 solutions is Ethereum, which features multiple communities and a broad ecosystem of tools.
How Can You Become a Web3 and Smart Contract Hacker?
The term ‘hacker’ might seem like a negative choice for your future career. However, an ethical web3 hacker would help organizations in minimizing the risks associated with web3. If you want to become a web3 and smart contracts security expert, then you must follow a roadmap. The advantages of a roadmap extend beyond helping you with an organized approach to your training for web3 security.
You can use a roadmap to cover the necessary milestones and learning outcomes required for excellence in security of web3 systems. Let us take a look at the different steps in a roadmap for the transition from zero to hero in web3 and smart contract security.
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Learn about Smart Contract Fundamentals
The relationship between smart contracts and web3 is one of the foremost reasons to start your web3 hacker roadmap with smart contract fundamentals. You can begin learning about smart contract fundamentals with an introduction to blockchain technology. Candidates aspiring for jobs in web3 and smart contract security should start their learning journey with the Bitcoin whitepaper. The Bitcoin whitepaper could help you understand the core principles of blockchain and peer-to-peer cash systems.
In the next step of learning fundamentals, you should familiarize yourself with the Ethereum whitepaper. It would help you learn about the role of Ethereum in developing smart contracts and growth of web3 ecosystem. Subsequently, you must also learn how web2 is different from web3. In addition, you must also know about the importance of DeFi in the domain of smart contracts and web3.
Learners can explore professional training courses on blockchain fundamentals, smart contract fundamentals, and Ethereum fundamentals alongside other learning resources. For example, the training library of 101 Blockchains offers you multiple training courses on blockchain and web3 concepts.
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Improve Your Programming Skills
Your efforts in learning about programming languages must also focus on Solidity, the popular smart contract programming language. Learners can also work on improving their skills in smart contract programming with other languages like Vyper. However, an aspiring smart contracts hacker would always emphasize Solidity as it is the most commonly used smart contract programming language. You can learn more about Solidity through different sources such as blogs, YouTube tutorials, and official Solidity documentation. On top of it, you must seek training courses on smart contract development to obtain professional insights on Solidity and its functions.
Interestingly, you can also try CryptoZombies, an interactive game that can help you learn about the intricacies of the working mechanism of Solidity. Your journey of learning about Solidity must begin with knowledge of basic syntax, supported data types, and Solidity control structures. As an aspiring web3 hacking expert, you must know the methods for declaring variables and defining functions. In addition, you must know the best practices for the implementation of loops and conditional statements in Solidity.
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Specialize in Smart Contract Development Frameworks
The knowledge of smart contracts and Solidity fundamentals offer only half of the requirements for safeguarding web3 solutions. Candidates aspiring to become ethical smart contract and web3 hackers should know about the working of smart contract development frameworks. Some of the notable smart contract development frameworks include Foundry, Truffle, and Hardhat. Let us learn more about the functionalities of these tools.
Foundry is one of the most powerful frameworks for facilitating smart contract development. It is a must-have addition to any smart contract hacking tutorial, as the features of Foundry can also support auditing. Specialization in Foundry helps you access a broad assortment of tools and features for streamlining the smart contract audit process.
You can find an extended set of contract testing capabilities with the flexibility for writing and executing test cases. As a result, you can verify the functionality and integrity of smart contracts written in the Solidity programming language. Learners can specialize in Foundry by setting up a distinct Foundry project alongside developing a better understanding of the project structure.
You should also familiarize yourself with the best practices for compilation, deployment, and interactions with smart contracts with the Foundry CLI. Furthermore, you can rely on Foundry documentation and practical examples for learning more about Foundry.
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Another important framework for smart contract development is Hardhat. It provides another essential addition to a web3 hacker roadmap with features for effective smart contract audits. Hardhat is the top development and testing framework for smart contracts on Ethereum.
You can find a collection of tools and functionalities on Hardhat for streamlining the process of developing, testing, and deploying smart contracts. Web3 and smart contract security require an in-depth understanding of Hardhat as most of the smart contract code is deployed through the Hardhat framework.
Hardhat provides a broad assortment of plugins for extending its capabilities. The plugins help in integration of additional services, tools, and libraries in the auditing workflow. For instance, you can use plugins such as Etherscan, Gas Reporter, and Solidity Coverage for analyzing contract logic, generating test coverage reports, and monitoring gas usage. You can learn more about Hardhat through its official documentation, practical examples, and tutorials for a better understanding of Hardhat.
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Choose Professional Training or Certification Courses
The journey toward becoming a certified web3 hacker would also involve professional training and certification courses. For example, web3 and smart contracts security professionals could rely on the Certified Web3 Hacker certification training course by 101 Blockchains. The certification training course aims to help you familiarize yourself with real-world examples of web3 exploits.
On top of it, you can learn how to leverage the best web3 security tools for safeguarding your valuable assets. In addition, the certification training course also offers insights regarding the best methods for employing web3 security best practices. The advantage of professional training would be reflected not only in your skillset but also in your portfolio. A certification in web3 hacking could provide a mark of your expertise in managing web3 and smart contract security threats.
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Learn about DeFi and Potential Attack Vectors
The most popular class of solutions in the web3 ecosystem points to DeFi, which enable decentralized access to financial services. On the contrary, DeFi solutions are also the top targets of web3 and smart contracts hacking attacks. Considering the value and magnitude of transactions on DeFi platforms, it is important to safeguard DeFi solutions against common attack vectors. Some of the common DeFi attack vectors include re-entrancy attacks, flash loans, oracle manipulation, and rug pull scams.
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Familiarize yourself with Common Bugs and Testing Tools
A professional web3 and smart contract hacker must know about the common smart contract bugs and tools alongside best practices. You can learn about different types of vulnerabilities, such as integer underflow and overflows, access control issues, and re-entrancy attacks. As an aspiring web3 hacker, you must also have comprehensive knowledge of tools such as Slither, Echidna, and Eth Security Toolbox. Each tool has a distinct contribution to your expertise as a web3 and smart contract hacker. For example, Slither helps in detecting vulnerable Solidity code. On the other hand, Echidna is a reliable tool for property-based testing of smart contracts on Ethereum.
Start your journey to becoming an expert in Web3 security skills with Web3 Security Expert Career Path
The steps to becoming a web3 hacker require intensive efforts, dedication, and valuable time. If you pay attention to the web3 hacker roadmap, you can identify the importance of learning about web3 fundamentals. Once you are familiar with the basic concepts of blockchain technology and smart contracts, you can find the ideal foundation for learning more about hacking smart contracts.
At the same time, you must learn the significance of smart contract development frameworks such as Foundry and Hardhat. Almost everything that goes into the creation and operations of a smart contract is important for web3 hackers. Learn more about web3 security and find the ideal practices for safeguarding web3 systems now.
*Disclaimer: The article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide any investment advice. Claims made in this article do not constitute investment advice and should not be taken as such. 101 Blockchains shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this article. Do your own research!