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Serious bugs and vulnerabilities in the Elliptic library

The Elliptic library is one of the popular tools for implementing cryptographic algorithms on elliptic curves in the JavaScript programming language. It is widely used to develop secure cryptocurrency wallets, perform digital signature operations, and encrypt data. However, despite its popularity and widespread use, serious errors and vulnerabilities were discovered in the Elliptic library that could affect the security of user data and cryptographic operations.

Bugs and vulnerabilities:

  1. Improper implementation of algorithms:
    One of the problems faced by cryptographic libraries, including Elliptic, is incorrect implementation of algorithms. This can lead to the creation of vulnerable ciphers that are easily attacked. An example of such an error is the ineffective or incorrect use of mathematical operations on elliptic curves, which reduces the level of security.
  2. Problems with random number generation:
    Cryptography depends heavily on the quality of pseudo-random number generation. Bugs in random number generators can lead to predictable keys, making the system vulnerable to attack. There have been cases in the Elliptic library where random number generation was not reliable enough.
  3. Side-channel attack vulnerabilities:
    Side-channel attack vulnerabilities allow attackers to extract key information from side channels, such as operation times or memory consumption. If a cryptographic library, including Elliptic, is not protected against such attacks, it could lead to leakage of sensitive data.
  4. Protocol Bugs:
    The cryptographic protocols used by the library may also contain bugs. For example, an incorrect implementation of a signing or key exchange protocol can leave communications vulnerable to various types of attacks, including man-in-the-middle.

The Elliptic library, which is used for cryptographic operations in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has had several serious bugs and vulnerabilities discovered in recent years. Some of the most notable incidents are listed below:

“Heartbleed” vulnerability (2014): This vulnerability was discovered in the popular OpenSSL library, which was also used in the Elliptic library. Heartbleed allowed attackers to gain access to protected information, including private cryptography keys and passwords. This vulnerability affected a large number of websites and services, making it one of the most serious security incidents in Internet history.

Rubber-hose bug (2015): This bug was discovered in the implementation of the Curve25519 cryptographic algorithm in the Elliptic library. The bug allowed an attacker to recover a private key from a public key, leaving all systems that use this algorithm for security vulnerable. Fortunately, the bug was discovered before it was actively exploited by attackers.

“ROCA” Vulnerability (2017): This vulnerability was discovered in the random number generators used in the Elliptic library and other cryptographic libraries. ROCA allowed attackers to predict the supposedly random numbers used to create cryptographic keys, leaving all systems using these libraries vulnerable. This vulnerability affected millions of devices around the world.

ECDSA Implementation Bug (2019): In 2019, a bug in the implementation of the ECDSA digital signature algorithm was discovered in the Elliptic library. The bug allowed the creation of a fake digital signature that would be accepted as valid. Although this vulnerability was quickly patched, it underscored the importance of thorough auditing and testing of cryptographic software.

These incidents highlight the importance of continually monitoring and updating cryptographic software such as the Elliptic library to ensure its security and protection from emerging threats. Although cryptography provides powerful security tools, the implementation of these tools must be flawless to be effective.


The Elliptic library, like any other cryptographic library, is subject to the risk of bugs and vulnerabilities. It is important for developers and users to monitor security updates and recommendations from security researchers to proactively resolve potential issues. When vulnerabilities are discovered, the developer community should actively work to fix them and strengthen the library’s security mechanisms.

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