How Consensus Drives Bitcoin - Freedom to Tinker

Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing Attacks on Cryptocurrencies

arXiv:1605.07524
Date: 2017-03-24
Author(s): Maria Apostolaki, Aviv Zohar, Laurent Vanbever

Link to Paper


Abstract
As the most successful cryptocurrency to date, Bitcoin constitutes a target of choice for attackers. While many attack vectors have already been uncovered, one important vector has been left out though: attacking the currency via the Internet routing infrastructure itself. Indeed, by manipulating routing advertisements (BGP hijacks) or by naturally intercepting traffic, Autonomous Systems (ASes) can intercept and manipulate a large fraction of Bitcoin traffic. This paper presents the first taxonomy of routing attacks and their impact on Bitcoin, considering both small-scale attacks, targeting individual nodes, and large-scale attacks, targeting the network as a whole. While challenging, we show that two key properties make routing attacks practical: (i) the efficiency of routing manipulation; and (ii) the significant centralization of Bitcoin in terms of mining and routing. Specifically, we find that any network attacker can hijack few (<100) BGP prefixes to isolate ~50% of the mining power---even when considering that mining pools are heavily multi-homed. We also show that on-path network attackers can considerably slow down block propagation by interfering with few key Bitcoin messages. We demonstrate the feasibility of each attack against the deployed Bitcoin software. We also quantify their effectiveness on the current Bitcoin topology using data collected from a Bitcoin supernode combined with BGP routing data. The potential damage to Bitcoin is worrying. By isolating parts of the network or delaying block propagation, attackers can cause a significant amount of mining power to be wasted, leading to revenue losses and enabling a wide range of exploits such as double spending. To prevent such effects in practice, we provide both short and long-term countermeasures, some of which can be deployed immediately.

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New paper: Research Perspectives and Challenges for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies | Andrew Miller | Mar 02 2015

Andrew Miller on Mar 02 2015:
We (Joseph Bonneau, myself Arvind Narayanan, Jeremy Clark, Ed Felten,
Josh Kroll -- from Stanford, Maryland, Concordia, Princeton) have
written a “systemization” paper about Bitcoin-related research. It’s
going to appear in the Oakland security conference later this year
(IEEE Security and Privacy) but we wanted to announce a draft to this
community ahead of time.
http://www.jbonneau.com/doc/BMCNKF15-IEEESP-bitcoin.pdf
One of the main goals of our work is to build a bridge between the
computer science research community and the cryptocurrency community.
Many of the most interesting ideas and proposals for Bitcoin come from
this mailing list and forums/wikis/irc channels, where many academic
researchers simply don’t know to look! In fact, we started out by
scraping all the interesting posts/articles we could find and trying
to figure out how we could organize them. We hope our paper helps some
of the best ideas and research questions from the Bitcoin community
bubble up and inspires researchers to build on them.
We didn’t limit our scope to Bitcoin, but we also decided not to
provide a complete survey of altcoins and other next-generation
cryptocurrency designs. Instead, we tried to explain all the
dimensions along which these designs differ from Bitcoin.
This effort has roughly been in progress over two years, though it
stopped and restarted several times along the way.
If anyone has comments or suggestions, we still have a week before the
final version is due, and regardless we plan to continue updating our
online version for the forseeable future.
original: http://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2015-March/007626.html
submitted by bitcoin-devlist-bot to bitcoin_devlist [link] [comments]

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