Is Your Wallet Snitching On You? An Analysis on the Privacy Implications of Web3

Thu 26Oct2023

Dr. Christof Ferreira Torres, ETH

From 11:00 until 12:30

At CAB H 52 (Seminar) + CNB/F/110 (Lunch) , ETH Zurich

CAB H 52 (Seminar) + CNB/F/110 (Lunch), ETH Zurich


With the recent hype around the Metaverse and NFTs, Web3 is getting more and more popular. The goal of Web3 is to decentralize the web via decentralized applications. Wallets play a crucial role as they act as an interface between these applications and the user. Wallets such as MetaMask are being used by millions of users nowadays. Unfortunately, Web3 is often advertised as more secure and private. However, decentralized applications as well as wallets are based on traditional technologies, which are not designed with privacy of users in mind. In this work, we analyze the privacy implications that Web3 technologies such as decentralized applications and wallets have on users. To this end, we build a framework that measures exposure of wallet information. First, we study whether information about installed wallets is being used to track users online. We analyze the top 100K websites and find evidence of 1,325 websites running scripts that probe whether users have wallets installed in their browser. Second, we measure whether decentralized applications and wallets leak the user’s unique wallet address to third-parties. We intercept the traffic of 616 decentralized applications and 100 wallets and find over 2000 leaks across 211 applications and more than 300 leaks across 13 wallets. Our study shows that Web3 poses a threat to users’ privacy and requires new designs towards more privacy-aware wallet architectures.

Join us in CAB H 52 (Seminar) + CNB/F/110 (Lunch).

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