A Guide to Understanding Web 3 Data Security Risks

Blocksurvey blog author
Written by Wilson Bright
Apr 25, 2024 · 4 mins read

Web 3.0, which can be seen as the next version of the internet, focuses on the structural changes that identify the user's control and governance as important concepts brought forward by blockchain technology This notion is supported by self-sovereign identity, distributed ledgers and smart contracts and it is to improve the current web’s limitations and certain privacy issues.

However, Web 3 has started a lot of innovation and disruption, it is necessary to know that this will bring up the different data security risks. These are the problems that become real because the whole concept is really new to many businesses, and the Consensus Approach issue can complicate everything from spotting the vulnerabilities to patching them.

The risk management process involves the outlining of the hazards and the prevention and adjustment at different stages of Web 3 implementation. Therefore, the question is how it can be captured. Here's an overview of the crucial points that are related to keeping the protected data in Web3 reality. It sketches critical security pitfalls, delves into essential security best practices, and reflects on the ongoing security enhancements in this space with an ever-increasing footprint.

Key Web 3 Data Security Risks 

The first step in understanding Web 3 data security risks is to know the different vulnerabilities that it's prone to. Some threats were common in Web 2.0 and many businesses are prepared to deal with them, while others are specific to Web 3 infrastructure. They include the following:  

  1. Cloud Vulnerabilities  

While the vision of Web 3 emphasizes decentralization, it's essential to recognize that many Web 3 projects still leverage centralized cloud infrastructure to varying degrees. This reliance on traditional cloud services introduces an additional layer of potential security risks. Misconfigured cloud components, vulnerable APIs, insecure data storage, or unpatched cloud systems could become attack vectors, potentially compromising user data or the integrity of Web 3 applications. 

Web 3 projects must acknowledge these hybrid risks. Thorough security audits of cloud components, adherence to secure cloud practices like the principle of least privilege, multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and the implementation of the zero-trust tenets can help minimize cloud vulnerabilities. Neglecting the security posture of the cloud elements within a Web 3 system risks undermining the decentralized benefits the blockchain component may provide. 

  1. Smart Contract Vulnerabilities 

Smart contracts lie at the heart of many Web 3 applications, automating agreements and enabling the execution of complex financial transactions or decentralized governance. However, flaws in the code that powers these smart contracts can act as gateways for attackers. These vulnerabilities can range from simple coding errors to more complex logical loopholes that might allow unintended behaviours within the contract. 

History is riddled with devastating examples of smart contract exploits leading to massive financial losses. For example, the DeFi protocol Grim Finance was attacked in 2021 through five re-entrance loops, leading to a loss of over USD$ 30 million. These attacks underscore the necessity of meticulous smart contract development and rigorous auditing before deploying onto a live blockchain. (1) 

  1. Phishing Attacks in Web 3 

Originating through traditional web platforms, phishing scams have been one of the most persistent security challenges. However, in Web 3, might be even more dangerous due to the peculiarities this technology platform embraces.

The threats on a Web 3 platform are usually directed against the user's insufficient familiarity with Web 3 mechanics or technical interfaces that help to interact with the decentralized web. Immediate methods are often stealing a credit card number, misleading a website, imitating a social engineering approach and also gaining access to the victim’s wallet.

Moreover, Web 3 phishing becomes the case of another problem as it concerns the irreversible characteristics of blockchain transactions. Also, an attacker who infiltrates the private cryptocurrency keys possessed by a user could seize their crypto-holders immediately with no process to retrieve the stolen money afterwards.

  1. 51% Attacks 

In a blockchain, most participants operate by a consensus model that maintains decentralization, so there will be no single party that has complete control of the system. Nevertheless, if an ill-intentioned actor or a gang capable of controlling more of a blockchain's hashing power (or stake in the case of Proof-of-Stake which is always more than 50%), is determined then they will gain the ability to manipulate it. The 51% attack if successful gives the attacker the capacity to reverse transactions, duplicate spending of cryptocurrencies, and thwart new transactions en from being confirmed.(2)

While such assaults obviously result in damage to the attacked blockchain, they jeopardize the sustainability of any Web 3 applications running upon it as well. Forging a blockchain if its credibility is weakened, the process of disintegration of decentralized applications relying on it starts, and being integrated users might lose their money and other important information.

Best Practices for Web 3 Data Security 

After understanding the security risks in Web 3, the next step is to know the best practices to help mitigate them. They include the following:  

  • Using the Shared Responsibility Model 

Web 3 applications utilize cloud providers like AWS (Amazon Web Services). Therefore, it's crucial to understand that data security remains a shared responsibility.

AWS takes responsibility for the security of the cloud – this includes the physical infrastructure, underlying virtualization layers, and the services it directly manages. On the other hand, customers are responsible for security in the cloud – meaning the security of their applications, data, configurations, and how they leverage AWS services. 

For Web 3 developers and users, this translates to several key actions. Carefully review the AWS shared responsibility model to understand the division of security tasks. Securely configure the AWS services utilized. Protect customer data in transit and at rest using appropriate encryption. Manage access control using Identity and Access Management (IAM) to enforce the principle of least privilege. Regularly audit and monitor the AWS components within a Web 3 application to maintain a robust security posture. 

  • Smart Contract Audits 

Smart contract audits are by itself a one way ticket to the impenetrable fortress, which protects from intrusion of Web 3 apps. Efficient security firms skilled in dealing with the blockchain can perform this task on the contracts that are written in smart contract codes or any other potential issues that may be involved. One of the purposes of these audits is to find any probable attributes, logical errors, and the idea that the contract will not be carried out as intended.

However, audits tend to be more effective when performed prior to deployment of a smart contract onto the alive blockchain, as it increases the overall resilience of the network. And that's why we should are proactive in taking actions recommended by the auditors and thus, projects and end-users are protected from exploits during launches. Also publishing an audit result will go a long way towards the generation of trust in a project because the commitment shown is on security.

  • User Education 

The human element is often the weakest link in cybersecurity; Web 3 is no exception. Often, users commit several security mistakes that leave smart contracts and other applications vulnerable to security attacks. Empowering users with knowledge is a frontline defense against these threats. Educational initiatives should focus on familiarizing users with basic Web 3 security concepts, including the importance of private key management and how to identify red flags that might signal a scam. 

Web 3 users must learn to be vigilant. Resources that teach them how to recognize common phishing tactics, the dangers of interacting with unverified smart contracts, and the significance of choosing reputable platforms can go a long way in mitigating security risks. 

  • Secure Development Frameworks 

Using development frameworks explicitly designed for creating Web 3 applications provides a solid foundation for secure development. These frameworks often incorporate battle-tested security patterns and libraries, helping developers avoid common pitfalls. Adhering to secure coding principles that emphasize input validation, error handling, and the prevention of common attack vectors is essential. 

Furthermore, staying updated on the latest security best practices in the rapidly evolving Web 3 landscape is crucial for developers. Actively participating in developer communities allows them to access shared resources and learn from the experience of others. 

  • Multi-Sig Wallets 

Multi-signature (multi-sig) wallets introduce redundancy and decentralize control. They require multiple authorized parties to approve a transaction before it can be executed on the blockchain. This mechanism adds a valuable layer of security, especially for managing substantial amounts of cryptocurrency or governing decentralized organizations.  

In a multi-sig setup, the attacker can’t unilaterally drain funds or take critical actions even if a single private key is compromised. This is important considering reports that over USD$ 522 million was lost in cryptocurrency in the first quarter of 2024. Private key issues account for about 11.7% of all reported security breaches. However, muti-sig wallets introduce a balance between convenience and security, and are becoming increasingly popular for businesses and collaborative projects in the Web 3 space. (3) 

  • Collaboration and Standards Development 

The Web 3 ecosystem benefits tremendously from community-driven initiatives focused on establishing security standards and sharing best practices. Collaborative platforms enable developers, security researchers, and other stakeholders to exchange knowledge, report vulnerabilities, and develop industry-wide guidelines. 

Open-source projects, community forums, and coordinated bug bounty programs play a vital role in proactively identifying security concerns and fostering a culture of transparency and collaboration within Web 3. The community becomes better equipped to face emerging security threats by encouraging active participation and knowledge sharing. 

  • Zero-Knowledge Proofs 

Zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) represent a breakthrough concept in cryptography with profound implications for Web 3 data security and privacy. At their core, ZKPs enable one party (the prover) to prove to another party (the verifier) that they possess specific knowledge without revealing it. A recent report shows that over 78% of crypto traders see ZKP as important to the future of Web 3 and the metaverse.  

In Web 3, ZKPs facilitate private transactions by allowing users to prove the validity of transactions without disclosing personal or financial information. They also allow selective disclosure of data, enabling use cases where only specific attributes (e.g., age verification without revealing birthdate) are necessary. Integrating ZKPs into Web 3 applications has the potential to redefine the balance between privacy and functionality. 


Web 3 has the potential to redefine the digital landscape. However, ensuring robust data security remains a critical factor in its success. By understanding the unique risks of Web 3, adhering to security best practices, and remaining vigilant in the face of evolving threats, individuals and organizations can participate in this new era of the Internet with greater confidence.

A Guide to Understanding Web 3 Data Security Risks FAQ

What are some common web 3 data security risks?

Common risks include unauthorized access, data breaches, and lack of encryption.

How can I protect my data in web 3 environments?

Use strong encryption protocols, implement multi-factor authentication, and regularly update security measures.

Why is understanding web 3 data security risks important?

Understanding these risks helps individuals and organizations better protect their sensitive information and maintain trust with users.

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blog author description

Wilson Bright

Wilson Bright is the co-founder of BlockSurvey. He is an avid crypto enthusiast, and his vision is to make BlockSurvey a go-to infrastructure for data collection with a focus on privacy and security.


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