NEO (NEO) was spammed with free transactions on Friday, resulting in full blocks and a slow congested network, as well as the temporarily halt of the blockchain-based Switcheo exchange, NEON wallet and Effect Force platform.
“The spam appeared in the form of empty invocations, allowing thousands of transactions to be submitted without any actual transfer of funds. It is unknown at this time whether this was caused by a bug in a contract’s code, or was performed with malicious intent”, NEO explained in a blog post on Monday. The company noted that although the spam attack prevented users from seeing their token balances updated, their funds remained secure.
The issue slipped under the radar over the weekend as no official statement has been immediately released by NEO. An announcement came from Effect.AI (EFX), a decentralized platform for Artificial Intelligence which last month launched its Effect Force platform in private beta on the NEO MainNet.
“We regret to inform our dedicated Effect Force private beta workers that we are closing the Effect Force platform due to the current major issues with the NEO blockchain. We will keep you posted on the developments,” Effect.AI said in a Twitter post:
Answering to users’ demand for more details, the company revealed that NEO is being spammed with free transactions, adding that the network was working on the issues.
Peter Lin, director of R&D at NEO Global Development, also acknowledged the recent events, writing in a Medium post on Saturday:
“Recently, the number of transactions on the NEO network has increased significantly. Some of them are meaningless and could be considered as an attack. NEO is designed to be a high performance blockchain system that can handle high transactions per second (TPS) scenarios in event such as this.”
Lin went on to explain the technicalities of the situation and recommend appropriate actions:
“The NEO team is encouraging exchanges to add a transaction fee when a user withdraws NEO tokens from the exchange,” Lin said adding that the team is advising all wallet clients to add the ability for a user to set the transaction fee, so that users can make their own choice to pay the fee or not.
His advice was echoed in NEO’s statement, with the company informing users that its development team is still working to prevent a similar attack from disrupting NEO in the future.