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IOTA network went down due to a bug; The problem is only temporarily fixed
Editorial Team

According to a trustnodes.com publication, IOTA’s network went down on July 6. According to Sarah Lewis, a researcher:

“Currently the confirmed transaction ratio in iota is practically 0 because someone is stitching the side tangle to the main tangle and this apparently breaks regular nodes ability to select tips…This seems to have taken every single iota peer offline… I’ve done spot checks on like a dozen nodes now and none of them are responding to even simple getNodeInfo requests.”

Even though the causes are still unclear, it is probable that some or some team effectively spammed the network, but with a twist of sorts.

According to trustnodes.com, the attacker is connecting the main tangle to a side one through “stitching.” Now that’s not quite something for grandma to do as you need command line and knowhow, but we’re told grandma’s transaction wouldn’t mistakenly end up on the side tangle.

“The sidetangle isn’t considered in the tip-selection without stitching transactions because the walk starts at a milestone,” Luca Moser, an iota dev working on the Trinity iota wallet says before further adding:

“A transaction using the default tip-selection algorithm will not end up on the sidetangle.” Which suggests the funds themselves are not at risk, with this apparently being a node DDoS method. Moser says:

“The sidetangle doesn’t matter. Unless by stitching it to the maintangle the walk will go onto it and therefore overload the IRI node which causes the abrupt decrease of transactions per second in the network as no new tips get selected. However, the IF is working on a fix for this problem.”

IRI nodes are iota’s reference nodes, with IF being the Iota Foundation. Edward Greve, Head Of Engineering at the Iota Foundation, says:

“The current sidechain and syncing issues are a new phenomenon for the Tangle, and we’re taking the opportunity to acquire data about how the Tangle is responding and performing.

We will keep you posted and share new information as we are able to. Please understand, these new phenomena are not always obvious, and investigation takes time.”

At least for now, this suggest that it is not certain what kind of problem is or how to solve it or which part of the code can be called the bug.

Currently, the network is running, but all sorts of strange shapes are appearing on the tangle. Presumably one can stitch a third, fourth, or an endless number of side tangles, which may be a problem.

“The sidetangle alone doesn’t have any effect on the network (besides taking up hdd/ssd space),” Moser says, calling it a bug “with the stitching causing the tip-selection to overload the IRI node.”

They are currently having a global snapshot “to prune the database and allow smaller nodes to keep participating in the Mainnet. Otherwise, they may run out of space and fall off the network,” they say.

Even if a temporal solution of the problem is tangible, a long term one does remain to be seen.