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Author Topic: Is this a plausible theory for a network spam attack?  (Read 1343 times)
gadman2
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February 23, 2017, 12:25:23 AM
 #1

1. Be a large miner.
2. Collude with other top miners to attack the network with spam/high fee transactions.
3. Solve blocks and return their own transaction fees.
4. Rake in the legitimate ultra high fee transactions first from users who desperately need confirmations during an attack.
5. Profit???
6. Rinse and repeat.

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February 23, 2017, 03:27:37 AM
 #2

1. Be a large miner.
2. Collude with other top miners to attack the network with spam/high fee transactions.
3. Solve blocks and return their own transaction fees.
4. Rake in the legitimate ultra high fee transactions first from users who desperately need confirmations during an attack.
5. Profit???
6. Rinse and repeat.


 Why recycle the fees and rewards you already earned when there are new rewards and new fees to collect every ten minutes?  No, I think that fraud, collusion and racketeering are best left to the big banks.


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February 23, 2017, 03:31:03 AM
 #3

1. Be a large miner.
2. Collude with other top miners to attack the network with spam/high fee transactions.
3. Solve blocks and return their own transaction fees.
4. Rake in the legitimate ultra high fee transactions first from users who desperately need confirmations during an attack.
5. Profit???
6. Rinse and repeat.


 Why recycle the fees and rewards you already earned when there are new rewards and new fees to collect every ten minutes?  No, I think that fraud, collusion and racketeering are best left to the big banks.



OP is really just asking would this be possible as asking that question is usually the best way to think of ways to combat an attack. Personally, I don't think this would work in the least as you'd really have to collude with a pretty good amount of miners in order to make this is a reality,

A good majority of the people that run these huge mining farms and pools would probably have some amount of ethics and put these above any amount of profit, not all though. Greed could take over and this could work but I would hope that this would never occur.



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February 23, 2017, 04:59:23 AM
 #4

Do you really believe that multi million dollar bitcoin miners aren't looking for ways to maximize profits? Maybe even deploying unethical tactics for doing so? Does this relate to why the miners aren't accepting solutions to blocksize?

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February 23, 2017, 05:06:35 AM
 #5

For this to work, you would have to have close to 100% of the miners colluding with you. If not...

The blocks that are not mined by the colluding miners would be full of high fee paying transactions that are all legitimate transactions in the eyes of the non-colluding miner. While the blocks mined by colluding miners are partially full of legitimate high fee paying transactions and partially full of transactions crafted by the colluding pools to increase the overall transaction fees.

Therefor, non-colluding miners would be earning more per block as all of the fees in their blocks are actual income. The colluding miners would be earning less per block because some of the fees in their blocks are just their own money being returned to them.

Eventually the non-colluding miners would be able to purchase more hardware with their greater profit and slowly erode the colluding miners percentage of the network.

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February 23, 2017, 05:17:45 AM
 #6

think of it this way. how much money would it cost to spam attack? fees are low and each cost $0.2 and you can mine the blocks yourself if you are a big pool so it is money in your own pocket anyways.

but the result is 1.5BTC= $1700 in total fees which can cover all the costs you may have had.

now compare this with old blocks. e.g. 444265 total fees were about 0.5BTC back then.

so i'd say 1BTC profit is worth it.

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February 23, 2017, 05:19:32 AM
 #7

If they mine only their own tx's to cancel out the cost, they would eventually run out of money. Mining is expensive and they have to make a income to make their mining operation sustainable. An attack like this will only decrease their profits and give other miners the opportunity to surpass them.

A lot of the profits are spend on expanding the operation to accommodate for difficulty increases, so they will lose a lot of money, if they spend it on worthless attacks like this. ^hmmmmmmm^

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February 23, 2017, 05:45:32 AM
 #8

If they mine only their own tx's to cancel out the cost, they would eventually run out of money. Mining is expensive and they have to make a income to make their mining operation sustainable. An attack like this will only decrease their profits and give other miners the opportunity to surpass them.

A lot of the profits are spend on expanding the operation to accommodate for difficulty increases, so they will lose a lot of money, if they spend it on worthless attacks like this. ^hmmmmmmm^

well, this is mostly a theory and like many other theories it may not be 100% correct. but did you read what i said above?
it is not worthless attack. lets say a miner injects 40,000 spam transactions out there. it will cost it about $8000 (40000 * $0.2), the miner needs to mine 4.7 blocks to compensate the cost ($8000 / $1700)

here is a chart to look at: https://blockchain.info/charts/transaction-fees

you may want to check this topic: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1776143.0 not all the transactions have high fees, there are many with small fee of 20 s/b which makes the cost a lot less.

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February 23, 2017, 06:11:13 AM
 #9

1. Be a large miner.
2. Collude with other top miners
This is enough for making profit. No need to play child games with fees.
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February 23, 2017, 08:17:10 AM
 #10

at that point isn't better for them to just attack the network with 51%? i see no sense here

and i repeat fees currently are not giving much to the miners, solving a block only add 0.5 btc in transaction to it and unless there is a farm that is constantly solving all block which isn't true, is not making much in the end from fee

the biggest pool for example has 17% of the entire network, which result in 12 btc in fee by solving 17% of the 144 block per day, 12 btc is not even another block, so it's like they are mining 1 more block per day...

and that is a pool not a farm, a farm would be far less than that...

edit... it's 19 btc now because the average fee increased to 40k satoshi, still a very little amount compared to what they earn
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February 23, 2017, 08:26:08 AM
 #11

at that point isn't better for them to just attack the network with 51%? i see no sense here

A 51% attack is a once-off basically. If you do it successfully, the users will simply swap to a different mining algorithm which will render all of the attacker's expensive hardware worthless, so you had better make bank.

Looking for less disruptive, sustainable ways to earn extra is therefore more sensible.

That said, this particular "attack" is pointless for the reasons I mentioned above.

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February 23, 2017, 08:30:23 AM
 #12

Possible but unlikely. You will have a hard time to get all on board. And if one of the miners that is not on board mines a block, he will get your money, so you make a loss. Besides that how much would the pools have to chip in? All the same amount? According to hashpower? Like i said possible but unlikely.

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February 23, 2017, 09:48:56 AM
 #13

A 51% attack is a once-off basically. If you do it successfully, the users will simply
swap to a different mining algorithm which will render all of the attacker's expensive
hardware worthless, so you had better make bank.
You assumption that mining pool has its own hardware.
The 51-attack would cost nothing for the pool admins if they do not have their own hashpower.
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February 23, 2017, 10:01:04 AM
 #14

Usually spam or micro-transaction have lower fees compared with most transaction and no way you could earn profit since the risk another pool could mine it and it cost lots of money to mine bitcoin especially because high bitcoin mining difficulty.
But, i think miners could earn more money if they process transaction with high fees and forget transaction with low fees even it has been broadcasted for few days Roll Eyes
Furthermore, they could use high mining power for non-profit beneficial such as reject SegWit and blocksize increase or accept crazy thing such as LN.

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February 23, 2017, 12:35:04 PM
 #15

For this to work, you would have to have close to 100% of the miners colluding with you. If not...

The blocks that are not mined by the colluding miners would be full of high fee paying transactions that are all legitimate transactions in the eyes of the non-colluding miner. While the blocks mined by colluding miners are partially full of legitimate high fee paying transactions and partially full of transactions crafted by the colluding pools to increase the overall transaction fees.

Therefor, non-colluding miners would be earning more per block as all of the fees in their blocks are actual income. The colluding miners would be earning less per block because some of the fees in their blocks are just their own money being returned to them.

Eventually the non-colluding miners would be able to purchase more hardware with their greater profit and slowly erode the colluding miners percentage of the network.

yeah, to do such thing, it needs big power including most miners. I also thought that it should be planned by some people, but it is too fast to conclude it. however, some points you mention can be possibilities of this attack.
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February 23, 2017, 12:49:22 PM
 #16

considering the miners are making about 2 or 3 times more profit compared to before you can make that assumption that a miner or groups of them are doing this.

but some things don't match in my opinion.

if it was miners they wouldn't have spammed the hell out of it (it is 90K to 100K transactions today) while only 10K is more than enough to cause a fee war and increase their revenue and keep the cost to a minimum.

also the time this nonsense started and times when it goes up matches mostly with debate over block size and that can not be a coincidence.

and also as a miner you must be really super greedy to want more fees because the block reward and the price is giving them more than enough to cover their costs and give them a huge profit on top.

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February 24, 2017, 03:21:36 AM
 #17

lets pretend the miners are doing it.

they would not lose a penny

think about it.

the block they produce containing transactions THEY create. means they get their fee's back.
they dont even need to relay their own transactions to other pools. they just add them only to their own blocks that way other pools who solve blocks inbetween dont nab the fee's, because they dont get them pre block solution..

by having a pool fill its own blocks with its own tx's. when getting accepted/confirmed leaves other pools tx's left in their mempools. causing a back log.
along with blockstreams fee average mechanism then pushes the fee estimation up, which makes everyones tx's more expensive

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February 24, 2017, 05:58:03 AM
 #18

lets pretend the miners are doing it.

they would not lose a penny

think about it.

the block they produce containing transactions THEY create. means they get their fee's back.
they dont even need to relay their own transactions to other pools. they just add them only to their own blocks that way other pools who solve blocks inbetween dont nab the fee's, because they dont get them pre block solution..

by having a pool fill its own blocks with its own tx's. when getting accepted/confirmed leaves other pools tx's left in their mempools. causing a back log.
along with blockstreams fee average mechanism then pushes the fee estimation up, which makes everyones tx's more expensive

Again, this "attack" benefits the pools/miners who aren't involved far, far more than those "mining their own fees".

Non-colluding miners get blocks full of real, fee paying transactions. Wow, they love this "attack".

Colluding miners get blocks composed of some real, fee paying transactions and some home brewed transactions with fees going back to themselves. Meaning, they get less real income from real, fee paying transactions.

Do this "attack" long enough and the other miners will simply render your hash rate irrelevant as they have more profit to buy more hardware.

I suggest you follow your own advice and "think about it". I won't even mention what happens when one of the colluding miner's blocks is orphaned and their "fee to themselves" transactions are known to the entire network.

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February 24, 2017, 06:20:10 AM
 #19

If they mine only their own tx's to cancel out the cost, they would eventually run out of money. Mining is expensive and they have to make a income to make their mining operation sustainable. An attack like this will only decrease their profits and give other miners the opportunity to surpass them.

A lot of the profits are spend on expanding the operation to accommodate for difficulty increases, so they will lose a lot of money, if they spend it on worthless attacks like this. ^hmmmmmmm^

well, this is mostly a theory and like many other theories it may not be 100% correct. but did you read what i said above?
it is not worthless attack. lets say a miner injects 40,000 spam transactions out there. it will cost it about $8000 (40000 * $0.2), the miner needs to mine 4.7 blocks to compensate the cost ($8000 / $1700)

here is a chart to look at: https://blockchain.info/charts/transaction-fees

you may want to check this topic: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1776143.0 not all the transactions have high fees, there are many with small fee of 20 s/b which makes the cost a lot less.

Agreed, but the $0.2 cents miner fees is not their primary expense, they still need to add the cost of the electricity to hash the blocks. So if the cost of everything else is calculated with the cost of their own <fake> miners fees, then this might not justify the expense.

These miners also have other expenses to operate. < Cooling / employee salaries etc. >

I think the people behind these spam attacks, might just be someone that needs SegWit / LN and this is not the miners.

Amph
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February 24, 2017, 07:05:26 AM
 #20

at that point isn't better for them to just attack the network with 51%? i see no sense here

A 51% attack is a once-off basically. If you do it successfully, the users will simply swap to a different mining algorithm which will render all of the attacker's expensive hardware worthless, so you had better make bank.

Looking for less disruptive, sustainable ways to earn extra is therefore more sensible.

That said, this particular "attack" is pointless for the reasons I mentioned above.

how can users simply swap to a different algorithm when it require an hard fork, and there will be never a consensu for this?

if the 51% of nthe net decide for a 51% and the remaining not, i doubt those 49% are going to agree to lose all their asic sha256 for a new algorithm
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