Lightning labs, the tech firm that developed the Lightning Network will include the “Watchtowers” feature in order to weed out fraud in future updates.
With the ‘Watchtowers’ feature, there will be added protection from counter-parties who may be able to access transactions once the transactions have already been made by a user. The users can now use Watchtowers to stay online and prevent any intruders after a transaction has been done.
Watchtower will provide the instruction monitoring ability for the transactions just in case a customer tries to display an older transaction in order to defraud. The feature will flag such suspicious transactions and even penalize users who try that.
There is going to be more direct deterrence now as any breachers now understand that the victim of their intended attack is likely to have a watchtower monitoring their moves. With the tower codes in the open, attackers simply have a big disadvantage as a breach attempt can now be identified early.
The ‘Watchtowers’ idea has been in incubation since early 2018, under the supervision of Lightning Labs’ head of crypto engineering, Conner Fromknecht. The overall concept has, however, been part of the plans ever since the company started in 2015.
Some other networks have also tried to develop security features similar to watchtowers. Some of these include MIT’s ‘Lit’ and the ‘Olympus Server‘ used by Bitfury.
Lightning network’s CTO, however, believes that watchtower remains a smarter bet compared to other solutions available today. Olaoluwa Osuntokun asserts that watchtowers is able to discover intruders automatically and does not need users to monitor what is going on manually. Furthermore, anyone can use watchtower as long as they are part of the Lightning Network.
Once the feature is deployed, it enables any routing node to activate its own tower in order to protect the infrastructure. Anyone using LN can also place their own towers to secure their nodes. The ability to have the watchtowers shared makes it possible to have multiple towers protecting the involved funds. Sharing features also make it possible for peers to team up and share costs instead of having individual towers.
In a nutshell, the addition of the watchtower feature makes the lightning network a more secure place. All that remains is some monitoring of the future performance by the new feature once Lightning Network makes the upgrade later this month.