BanklessDAO Incident Report - Governance Sybil Attack

Thanks for the report @Icedcool and Infosec :pray:

If an actor were to use secure VPN, different emails, tor and randomize account creation, how likely would it be to detect similar attacks?

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asking for a friend :innocent:

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Hey @Sprinklesforwinners, I’m having mixed feelings before I reflect on mine! Let me try to understand where your line of thought is coming from!

From your recent posts both on the Mirror and on Froum, it seems like you think the DAO is corrupt; the power is held in the hands of a few. And the post that you thought you were highlighting this truth hasn’t got the expected result.
That’s where you have planned to exploit the system and prove your point?

I get your frustration;

for someone who is actively contributing to the system, you might feel that you are working on borrowed land.
Almost all of the key powers which connect the DAO to the web2 world are residing in the hands of a few, and these members aren’t anywhere to be found.

I do agree with you here! It is now concentrated in the hands of a few, And for new members of the system, they could feel that these members are kinda like the untouchable entities who run the world.

Others in the DAO aren’t that paranoid as they have worked with these members in the past and are trying to change that centralisation.
An example of that initiative is [bDIP-8]. There are also conversations on putting term limits for different roles etc.
Even Guest Pass holders had held a GC seat, proving that we are open and give value to reputation over anything else.

I value you as a contributor. Your Ops/ administrative skills are very valuable.

IMO the best path forward will be to voluntarily step down on all DAO-wide roles you hold in the DAO. and let the projects decide how they what to handle this situation for themselves.

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Hi @0xbaer , I really appreciate you trying to understand where I am coming from.

Just to extend on this a little bit…
b-DIP 08 was the reason that I thought it was important that I bring this to light so quickly.
This is because I find all of the current multi-sig holders (except for 1) ARE in the server. Just a quick search shows they have been active in our community within the last 10 days.
I have personally found 6 of the 7 signers are easily accessible and responsive to anything of importance.
If others do not feel the same, it is important to consider some of them may have notifications muted or only the @mention notification on.

For instance, during the time that everyone was in ETH Denver, I noticed abnormal activity with the token. I tried to tag the multi-sig signers, but somebody has changed the discord role tag, so that the tag could not revive @mentions. I reported this to ops
Like I reported to ops, I know that a few days prior it had been able to, because I was able to use it days prior to this.
I reached out to @frogmonkee via Twitter and gave him the link. He promptly responded and joined the thread.
@Grendel has been responsive via DM’s, even extending his calendly to chat with him. He is involved when needed and demonstrates he does what is best for the DAO and what being a multisig signer requires of him.
@Kouros is always reachable and responsive via tagging and is involved with issues concerning the DAO and as well has only demonstrated he wants what is best for the DAO and does what is required of him as a multisig signer.
While I have seen some mention that @0x_Lucas is unavailable via DM’s (consider that he may have them off or only open to friends) I have found that he is responsive and active within our server and when I had a question, I went to him directly in the HQ server and received a response.

While change and term limits are go[quote=“0xbaer, post:24, topic:5533, full:true”]
Hey @Sprinklesforwinners, I’m having mixed feelings before I reflect on mine! Let me try to understand where your line of thought is coming from!

From your recent posts both on the Mirror and on Froum, it seems like you think the DAO is corrupt; the power is held in the hands of a few. And the post that you thought you were highlighting this truth hasn’t got the expected result.
That’s where you have planned to exploit the system and prove your point?

I get your frustration;

for someone who is actively contributing to the system, you might feel that you are working on borrowed land.
Almost all of the key powers which connect the DAO to the web2 world are residing in the hands of a few, and these members aren’t anywhere to be found.

I do agree with you here! It is now concentrated in the hands of a few, And for new members of the system, they could feel that these members are kinda like the untouchable entities who run the world.

Others in the DAO aren’t that paranoid as they have worked with these members in the past and are trying to change that centralisation.
An example of that initiative is [bDIP-8]. There are also conversations on putting term limits for different roles etc.
Even Guest Pass holders had held a GC seat, proving that we are open and give value to reputation over anything else.

I value you as a contributor. Your Ops/ administrative skills are very valuable.

IMO the best path forward will be to voluntarily step down on all DAO-wide roles you hold in the DAO. and get your point let the projects decide how they what to handle this situation for themselves.
[/quote]
We are being told that the multi-sig signers aren’t active within the community and aren’t preforming their duties as signers. This simply is not true. we are just lead to believe it is true, and because trusted members of our community say something , we just believe them.

As I was writing this, I went to look back to see who changed the @multisig tag to not receive notifications. I can no longer see this, as my L2 was removed. So I am now no longer able to (view only - not change) anything.

I actually find that strange also. The L2 role tag (which only allows messages to be pinned, role tags assigned, the ability to delete others messages and to VIEW the server audit log) was simply taken away from me.
Was it because I am not deserving of the tag or because I am not wanted to see the audit log and changes made.
Either way, can 1 person decide this?

Does my simply showing how someone could attack our governance on 1 platform constitute not being able to view things on another platform?

I do know that the Governance Dept is working on a lot of issues. I have been offered to join their meetings. I can’t join at the times that their meetings are held, but I am also unsure of the exact meeting times, as they change frequently and there seems to be frequent unannounced meetings. I could add comments to the documents, but 1. I was explicitly told that they were not looking to change what is there in anyway 2. I simply am not in the position to volunteer a large amount of my time anymore. Even just reading and processing the new docs being worked on would take anyone hours.

So because I am unable to attend calls that aren’t announced, at a time that I am unavailable or because I cannot volunteer countless hours on something (where suggestions are not permitted) I am not able to participate in our Governance Department.
Again, to note anyone can put up a proposal. How can there only be “the right way”, when my way, your way and the governance Departments way may all be different.
I was under the impression that we our values include
Decentralized Governance
We put decision making into the hands of the collective. We create legitimacy through an environment where the best ideas win.”
Culture
We reward action and embrace risk. We empower our community to continually drive new initiatives by providing a space to self-organize and quickly move from idea to action.

How does standardizing anything to 1 way fit in there?

I will resign from any roles that I currently have, if my fellow peers that hold the same or similar roles within the units would like me to.
For me, this means those that hold the Grants Committee role tag and the PM Guild role holders/multisig signers.

I have already had both projects that I was working on remove my role tags and block me from access to everything (including access to my work and content that I have created)

I really wonder what is in place to protect the contributors in general but also those that buy the L1 and subsequently works hard to become an L2. It seems like absolutely nothing.

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I agree with each word @links has written here.

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We can be glad this was exposed with only this level of limited impact - this has been a vulnerability we’ve been aware of for a while but didn’t patch. Same with the Whales coordinape issue.

IMHO, Leaders should make everyone around them better and more productive collaborators. There’s many ways to do this, but the most obvious one is by earning trust.

Conducting a governance attack erodes that trust. As such, to me it seems like the path forward is to step down from any elected positions until the necessary trust to lead others in our community is built up again.

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Notion is too centralized because only those with access to a page are able to view edits made to the page itself.

I wonder why we all can’t have our own workspaces for our own work, with any shared spaces/DAO wide spaces admin permissions are given to a few randomly chosen each season from any L2 who gets credentialed through Notion
And if not on Notion, then somewhere similar to notion. not on notion, then somewhere else

“where suggestions are not permitted.” What do you mean by this claim and where is your evidence to show that suggestions are not permitted in governance discussions? The point of work groups is to collaboratively build and solve issues. Members can participate in discussion channels async. Nobody is stopping you from joining the discussion and asking questions. I’d like to see evidence of you not being permitted to make suggestions.

Your L2 admin privileges were temporarily suspended to mitigate any further attacks on the DAO. You performed a Sybil attack on our governance. We have to assume you would also attack our communication channels in Discord. You seem to be creating a new conspiracy theory that the DAO is somehow veiling the truth and hiding things from you. What you are experiencing is simply a consequence of your actions.

Why don’t you ask the admins for screenshots of the history logs? I must admit, I am very glad you do not have admin access to Notion. If your Sybil attack on our governance is an example of how you approach solving issues, I am glad you do not have access to alter and delete our Notion databases.

I am outraged that you pseudonymously attacked the credibility and intentions of @Trewkat. This act is unforgivable IMO.

We are building something. Rome was not built in a day. Instead of joining the builders to fix cracks and bolster the foundation, you came in with a bulldozer. I hope, on a human level, that you are ok and can grow from this experience.

@Icedcool, per your request, I’d like to propose ideas for next steps:

  1. L2 Discord admin privileges should be suspended for a minimum of 3 seasons.
  2. A full ban on ever having Notion admin privileges
  3. Immediate removal from all multisigs
  4. Immediate removal from roles held. I don’t think this can wait 10 days.

There was an unsanctioned Sybil attack on our governance by a member of our DAO. The consequences should reflect the severity of the act.

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We can, if we convert all 483 of our account’s Guest Contributors to paid members at $20 per person per month. We thought we’d try not to bankrupt the DAO and instead get as much value out of the tool as we could for a reasonable monthly cost.

RANDOM admin access? Cycled seasonally? How would you like to learn an entire organization every couple months just to get forced out? How would random admin access sound to Infosec?

Network administrative type positions are the exact kinds of positions that take time saturating in to be great at. Talent retention, not turnover, should be the focus for roles like these.

The Notion Ninja courses are a great place to start for learning how to use Notion. Administrating Notion is a completely different thing and those courses won’t help.

If anyone is concerned about Notion or feels it doesn’t fit our needs, anyone can present an alternative or a complementary tool to Ops for testing and review. It will need a workstream and funding, and contributor time commitments, all of which are running on empty at the moment, so it hasn’t happened. Since Notion seems to be working fine, we continue to use it.

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Let’s try to do everything on chain, and stop using e-mail, and use wallets, with funds, or passports like gitcoin

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Would this be a good option though? What do we do if a member leaves and we cant access content that was done for the DAO.

  1. Meetings are available to see in the governance-general. They are not gated in any way.
  2. @Jengajojo LITERALLY asks people WHEN are they available via Lettucemeet.
  3. The GC COMPLETELY ignored request to review the Constitution language update. Could be done async.
  4. If you arent aware of the time - ask in the chat. Ask the Sesh. There is always an answer.
  5. No one needs a special invitation to join the Governance calls. Or any other DAO calls.
  6. @Trewkat literally does them 6 or 7am her time (maybe different now due to the time change).
  7. Timezones are a b**h, but that doesn’t stop anyone from contributing at the time they can.

Didn’t write this one, but pretty sure the author didn’t have in mind a governance attack as an act of creativity and embracing risk. LMAO

I dont think anyone is there to protect contributors who go against the very fundamentals we are building upon, and perform governance attacks. DAO governance is freaking sacred.
How do you NOT get that?

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If a member were to create content in a Workspace and then leave, there are features and tools natively available within Notion to prevent us from ever losing complete control of a page or workspace.

All individual Workspaces would still fall within the same BankelssDAO account. Since the subscription fee is paid via one contributor’s credit/debit card, the ultimate owner of the account would still have full account-level admin access to all Workspaces in the event a recovery or security audit was needed.

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Thanks for the clarification! But is it something that we really need though? I would rather use that money to pay for Discourse to token gate it somehow :smiley:

It is definitely not something we need, IMO. I just wanted to point out that what was being asked for was technically possible, but realistically infeasible. I completely agree that funding would be better used elsewhere. It would cost nearly 10k USD a month to support all of our Guests as paid members to give them access to their own individual Workspaces.

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lmao, that’s insane! better use that money to grow bDAO :smiley:
DAO’s been operating as is for a while now, and we can find things to improve as a collective, keep the money in or spend it on something that REALLY IS an issue

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I severely lack context on this issue beyond reading what has been posted, as I have been afk for almost two seasons.

But, I find it telling that if you search for “sorry” and “apolog” (as in “apology” or “apologize”), those words only appear in the final third of your post.

You say you understand the consequences of your actions for the DAO but have not shared what you think those are.

“sorry”

“apolog”

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I agree, but no gasless, non-buggy solution, with the ability to comment exists afaik

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Can we discuss ideas for next step please? I’ve proposed a few, but I’d like to hear other people’s ideas.

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My following next step suggestions are going to be extremely harsh, commensurate with not only the severity of this issue, but in recognition of a behavior pattern that has emerged with Sprinkles that is dangerous to Bankless DAO.
I will give some rationale after the statement of next steps, that give some context to the reason I feel the actions taken here necessitate the complete ejection of Sprinkles from the DAO, as permanently as can be done. It pains me greatly to have to recommend this, as I have attempted to encourage reconciliation measures as this event has evolved. I believe that these punitive measures will cause some limited harm to areas that sprinkles is contributing as she is indeed a hard worker, however, the threat of her patterns of behavior and lack of repentance when confronted with the damage she is causing far outweigh the value of any positive contributions she has made in the past and currently.

I am going to call for every punitive measure that can be taken to prevent Sprinkles from participating in the DAO to be enacted including:

Ban IP from Discourse
Ban from Discord
Ban from Notion
Removal from All multisigs
Block from official twitter accounts
Blocking funding to any project that retains her as a contributor from the GC or main treasury, Guilds or Projects.
Removal/Ejection from any DAO tooling missed by this list in which she may have access.
Freezing of any outstanding payments that are in progress.
BANK she already holds will be left alone.

I also want to acknowledge that Sprinkles IS a strong contributor, and that this removal is likely to cause a negative impact anywhere she is involved. In the event these removals take place, I believe every sector that she is removed as a contributor from should be granted a one time 200k (subject to number change based on community, but I think this is a good starting point) BANK payout to allow them funding necessary to find and retain replacement talent.

I struggle to know where to begin with this rationale, as I could write 10 pages on the topic, but I do not have the time to fully detail all of my logic and factors at play. As such, while this list will be long, it is not comprehensive, and will not address every factor at hand. I am happy to go on record with further explanations to satisfy the questions of the community if desired.

Some of what I will say may be taken as inflammatory, or as emotionally charged, but that is not my intent in any case. I believe that the statement in Proverbs 27:6 is accurate when it asserts that: “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” and as such, I have attempted to approach this as a friend who highlights the raw painful truths in an attempt to promote healing and growth. However, as time has gone on, I have come to believe that Sprinkles uses the compassion and mercy we as a community show her as a method to allow her to continue damaging behavior, and that she chooses to ignore and reject, or misrepresent and twist those attempts to be reconciliatory to a narrative that allows her to continue on a Machiavellian tirade.

Observations of this behavior include but are not limited to:
-“Taking Responsibility” without any admission or recognition of wrongdoing (The only apology that’s been offered so far consists of “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “I’m sorry, you are wrong”)
-Misrepresenting a statement I made to her in a private conversation that “Defending yourself will not help your case, as the question is not whether or not you did something wrong, but whether or not you will take responsibility for it”
-Recording the previously mentioned conversation without my consent (I would not have known she recorded it at all if she had not accidentally shared her screen during the conversation)
-Violation of a social contract to not attack governance in the DAO under the guise of “Not aware of it”
(This one is particularly dangerous because as a contributor trusted in high authority positions, This is either an indication of gross incompetence, or of masking malicious activity, either way, inexcusable. Benefit of the doubt can be given here, but it doesn’t make what’s happened any less egregious.)
-RetCon of the narrative to fit whatever statement she feels is most defensible in that moment
-Accusations without evidence of centralization or corruption of power, which are both directly and indirectly damaging to the DAO and it’s most valued contributors, and revived at every opportunity, regardless of past explanations.
-Slander from alternate accounts meant to sow distrust in the community
-Attempts to shift the burden of proof onto any project or situation she doesn’t immediately understand, costing real contributors time, and goodwill as they feel their character is under attack
-Multiple complaints filed against her in the Ombuds office
-Falsely implying that the multisig has been hacked/compromised, eroding trust in the DAO
-a SYBIL attack manipulating impactful governance votes for project budgets negatively, and then asserting that “It didn’t matter and won’t impact quorum or the vote” falsely
-DELETING all the messages she’s posted in the governance channel since her behavior was publicly revealed
-Admission of the sybil attack only AFTER being confronted with details, her first response being “That could be anyone”
-Posting publicly an article that paints the DAO as centralized, dismissive, and painting herself as a white hat in spite of all the evidence to the contrary (Gaslighting)

The list goes on, but I believe the above is sufficient to assert that:

She is either unfit to remain as a contributor due to fundamental problems with her perceptions of the world, or she is outright malicious. I am giving her the benefit of the doubt and ascribing it to the former reason, however, to allow her to remain here after all of this, and in the absence of any form of repentance, that to do anything less is inviting the next attack, or setting us up for this behavior to continue, and further erode the vibes that is the lifeblood of BDAO.

I want to be clear: I don’t think sprinkles is my enemy, or our enemy, but I STRONGLY feel that I do not wish to share our table with her any further.

When voting on next steps, I would also ask that each item I have suggested is voted on individually, as many in the org likely feel this is too strong of a reaction, and I believe that the consensus of the people is more important than any one point of repercussions I have laid out.

I’ve been at BDAO since day 1, and I believe that this is hands down the most damaging thing that has happened in our history. Yes, even more than coordinape. I also believe that anything short of a strong response here sends a signal that could be life threatening to our org, and I don’t want to see that happen.

I don’t want to compare Sprinkles to cancer, as I feel that’s unfair to her, so please understand this analogy that follows is not asserting that, it is more reflective of her behavior.

When a body has cancer, and it is not removed, it kills the host, and it must be removed completely or it will return and spread. What sprinkles has done is just as dangerous and life threatening, and we must as an org take the steps to remove this threat, or we risk losing everything we have worked for the last two years plus to build. It is painful, it is ugly. It is necessary.

I am sorry sprinkles, and in spite of everything I have written, I do in fact wish you well and hope that you learn from this, and that your next journey leaves you feeling satisfied and prosperous. But I’m done associating myself with your actions, or trying to assist you in any way. I hope you stay headed west, but on another wagon train.

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