4 Smart Contract Shortcomings Leading to Hacks and Theft


As the popularity of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology continues to rise, smart contracts have become an increasingly common method of handling transactions. Smart contracts are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement between buyer and seller being directly written into lines of code. While smart contracts are meant to improve the efficiency and security of transactions, certain functions can lead to hacks and thefts. In this article, we will discuss 4 smart contract functions that are leading to hacks and theft and how to avoid them.


Smart contracts were introduced to automate transactions, prevent fraud, and increase transparency in the value exchange. However, poorly designed smart contracts can lead to unintended consequences. The complexity of smart contracts and the lack of clear standards in the industry can make them vulnerable to hacks and theft. 

As the adoption of smart contracts continues to grow, it is important to understand the potential risks and how to mitigate them. Here are 4 smart contract functions that have led to hacks and thefts.

Smart Contract Reentrancy Attacks 

Reentrancy attacks occur when a smart contract is repeatedly called before the previous operation is completed. Hackers can exploit this by creating a contract that appears to be legitimate but contains a malicious function that calls back into the same contract to exploit a vulnerability. One high-profile example of this is the DAO attack that took place in 2016, where an attacker could drain millions of dollars from the contract by exploiting a reentrancy vulnerability.

To prevent reentrancy attacks, it is important to ensure that a smart contract’s state is updated before any external calls are made. Developers should also avoid sending Ether to untrusted addresses, as these addresses can contain contracts that may have malicious functions.

Integer Overflow and Underflow 

Smart contracts often rely on integers to perform calculations. However, if a contract does not handle integer overflow and underflow correctly, it can result in unexpected behavior and potential exploits. An integer overflow occurs when an integer exceeds its maximum value, while an underflow occurs when it falls below its minimum value.

Developers can prevent integer overflow and underflow by using libraries or built-in functions that handle these scenarios. Testing and auditing the smart contract is also important to ensure these vulnerabilities are identified and resolved before deployment.

Smart Contract Illustration

Lack of Access Control In A Smart Contract

Smart contracts can contain sensitive information or allow the transfer of valuable assets. Anyone can access and modify the contract’s state if access control is not implemented correctly. This can lead to unintended changes or theft of assets.

Developers can prevent unauthorized access by implementing proper access controls within the smart contract. This can include implementing role-based access control or multi-signature requirements for specific actions.

Failure to Check Return Values

Smart contracts often interact with external contracts or call other functions. If the return values are not checked properly, it can lead to unexpected behavior and potential exploits. For example, a smart contract that relies on an external contract to perform a calculation may not check the return value to ensure that the result is valid.

Developers can prevent this by properly checking the return values of external contracts or functions before relying on them. This can include using built-in functions that handle these checks or implementing custom code to handle the return values.


Smart contracts have the potential to revolutionize the way we handle transactions and exchange value. However, as with any new technology, it is essential to understand the potential risks and vulnerabilities. 

Developers must take steps to prevent them and create more secure and reliable smart contracts. Testing, auditing, and properly implementing access control and return value checks can go a long way in preventing hacks and thefts.

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