MetaMask boosts security with alerts for 30M users on major chains

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MetaMask, a popular Ethereum-based self-custody crypto wallet, announced it would extend its default security alerts to web extension and mobile app users for multiple blockchains: Linea, BNB Smart Chain, Polygon, Arbitrum, Optimism and Avalanche.

The new security features come amid significant user growth for the wallet, which is nearing its peak in 2022. The monthly active users grew from 19 million in September 2023 to 30 million in January 2024. The user growth momentum was attributed to its mainstream partnerships with the likes of popular trading platforms such as Robinhood.

The security alert feature was first integrated on the Ethereum mainnet via an extension on Jan. 29, 2024. The security alerts warn users at transaction time whenever they interact with a known threat. The feature simulates the transaction being requested, recognizes malicious patterns, and warns users if a transaction is expected to result in fund loss. 

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Snapshot of security alert system. Source: Metamask

MetaMask claimed its security alerts are privacy-focused, unlike most Web3 wallets, which rely on sharing users’ transaction data with a third party for validation to provide security alerts.

The security alert system was first introduced in April 2023 as an experimental opt-in OpenSea alert that helped secure $500 million worth of assets. The success of the security alerts made the firm extend them to the MetaMask wallet as well.

Related: Scam alert: MetaMask warns users of deceptive March 31 airdrop rumors

The feature was developed in association with its security partner, Blockaid, and many users who had it enabled earlier managed to avoid the infamous phishing scam in September 2023 when Vitalik Buterin’s X handle was hacked. MetaMask claimed Blockaid’s systems detected the malicious decentralized application (DApp) 24 hours before the hack and helped users save $100,000 worth of assets. The alert system also flagged the moment when Uniswap founder Hayden Adams’ Twitter account got hacked later in October.

Bárbara Schorchit, senior product manager at MetaMask, told Cointelegraph that they have seen a slight rise in customer support tickets from users thanking the feature and reporting the malicious website they were on, so “we would also add it to our public phishing list and help protect others.”

Schorchit said that the alert feature also helped users save over $1 million during the recent Ledger Connect Kit incident in December:

“Nearly 100 front-end DApps were compromised, yet every MetaMask user who opted into the security alerts powered by Blockaid were protected, preventing what we estimate to be ~$1.15 million worth of assets from being stolen.”

Apart from privacy-focused security alerts, MetaMask is also working on educating the community to help them identify and detect scams to avoid getting duped. It is a learning simulation platform that provides an extensive method for understanding the complexities of various forms of scams.

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