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Author Topic: Botnet - can we stop this madness?  (Read 6374 times)
zaphod
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June 25, 2011, 10:54:25 PM
 #21


We know botnets can get really big if they're run by clever people.  The question I have is, if someone creates a clever botnet and turns it on once mining has become unattractive financially to those who pay their own electric bills, isn't getting over 50% pretty feasible?

If a botnet guy would get over 50% network power (which I found unfeasible since machines with decent GPU performance are usually not in the hands of computer illiterate people), they would already make so much money off it that they wouldn't even need to cheat. 1000 btc roughly every 2 weeks, that's between 10k - 20k USD depending on how the price will move after mtgox reopens.

Lots of Dells and Apples and HP's used by average Joe's have Radeon 5xxx and 6xxx cards in them, but I think you missed my point.  I'm thinking of 6 months from now when, if BTC doesn't appreciate significantly, mining won't pay for the electricity required to do it.  At that point, if the computational growth from legitimate miners slows or goes negative, and mining becomes mostly a botnet business, those same folks will have the power to turn BTC upside down at will.  I'm not saying that they're want to or that they could profit from it, but it's a real possibility.

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June 26, 2011, 03:12:21 AM
 #22


Lots of Dells and Apples and HP's used by average Joe's have Radeon 5xxx and 6xxx cards in them, but I think you missed my point.  I'm thinking of 6 months from now when, if BTC doesn't appreciate significantly, mining won't pay for the electricity required to do it.  At that point, if the computational growth from legitimate miners slows or goes negative, and mining becomes mostly a botnet business, those same folks will have the power to turn BTC upside down at will.  I'm not saying that they're want to or that they could profit from it, but it's a real possibility.

I agree.  If the difficulty level is adjusted to keep an average rate of 1 block every 10 minutes then the number of blocks created is 144 blocks/day regardless of the number of miners.  At $20/BTC and 50 BTC/block, that's $144,000/day.  That is then split among the total number of miners relative to the amount of processing each does.  With perfect information and perfect competition, equilibrium is when the costs of GPU and electricity are equal to revenue from Bitcoins.

With a botnet this breaks down completely.  The cost of GPU's and electricity to the herder is zero, so the number of miners from botnets will continue to increase without bound (economically).  As the number of botnet miners increases or the value of a Bitcoin decreases the number of legitimate miners will decrease to maintain equilibrium.  Botnets could conceivably have incredible amount of power.

BTW.  This also implies a minimum transaction cost that must be maintained when Bitcoins are no longer created.
antares
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June 26, 2011, 04:48:49 AM
 #23

has anyone ever considered that bitcoin pretty much is a botnet itself?
I mean, really, people, you are all doing distributed work which is controlled by a piece of software over the network.

To translate from the german wikipedia entry for botnet:
Quote
A botnet is a group of software bots. these bots run on networked computers, whose network connectivity and local resources are at their disposal.

One other from the english wiki page:
Quote
Botnets are controlled en masse via protocols such as IRC and http.

Anyone hearing a bell ringing? The only difference is that most Bitcoiners run the software willingly.
minor_miner
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June 26, 2011, 10:07:39 AM
 #24

A botnet CAN be against the will of the owners.

That's just plain wrong. Please inform yourself before posting nonsense.

BTC itself is a Peer-to-Peer network. A Botnet is a network of infected computers, controlled by one or a few persons remotely.


has anyone ever considered that bitcoin pretty much is a botnet itself?

No, because this is stupid, see above.

I mean, really, people, you are all doing distributed work which is controlled by a piece of software over the network.

Peer to Peer != Botnet!

I can only repeat: Inform yourself before posting.


Anyone hearing a bell ringing? The only difference is that most Bitcoiners run the software willingly.

And that's a huge differance. A differance between 10 years of jail vs a well-used open source project, for starters.


It's hilarious how you're even quoting wikipedia twice, but fail to read (or understand) the very first sentence:

Quote
A botnet is a collection of compromised computers, termed bots, that are used for malicious purposes. A computer becomes a bot when it runs a file, typically from a drive-by download, that has bot software embedded in it. Botnets are controlled en masse via protocols such as IRC and http.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet
caveden
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June 27, 2011, 12:10:13 PM
 #25

I'm not saying that they're want to or that they could profit from it, but it's a real possibility.

The same possibility exists concerning pool operators, right now. Slush + Deepbit have more than 50% of the computing power. BTCGuild is also huge. They wouldn't have much trouble to coordinate some attack, if they wanted to. But if even them, which only get a small share of what is mined under their pool, don't have an incentive to double-spend, imagine a botnet owner who would get 100% of the mining returns if doing it honestly?

Double-spending through a >50% attack is not cost effective. The incentives to be an honest miner are much stronger.

If we should worry with a >50% attack, that would be a politically-motivated one, with the intend to pause the network for as long as they can at the expense of some taxvictims. And even that is not very likely either.

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June 27, 2011, 01:55:53 PM
 #26

It would be interesting to end up with a totally legitimate project, that due to factors not under its own control, is completely facilitated through infected computers. What's more sci-fi than a peer to peer crypto currency that is mined and verified by the computers of people who have never even heard of it?

Most of the large pools have a tremendous amount of CPU miners -- those are almost certainly 90%+ botnet.

But, yes, between botnets, people running server farms at home or school, etc, I think mining will be unprofitable for most people - even taking into account only electricity, not even hardware depreciation, within a few months.
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June 27, 2011, 02:52:31 PM
 #27

So, it seems the first registred botnet-virus has appeared  Roll Eyes
It has been detected by russian user...Here you can read more if you speak russian - http://forums.overclockers.ru/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=395932&start=17220
Read the posts of member reesol
In a few words: AVIRA has detected this virus body, reesol has detected settings of botnet miner and reached to deppbit account with....35GHash mining power... Shocked Shocked Shocked

I was wondering why on deepbit they don't show stats of what users are doing how much MH/s. At least I couldn't find it and most pools show that info.

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June 27, 2011, 03:39:22 PM
 #28

I am convinced that Botnets will destroy mining by conventional means.  Innovation, (though illegal) will kill conventional miners.  The incentives are just too high.  1,000,000 infected computers (not hard to achieve at all with a Botnet, in reality the more successful Botnets have 10 million or more) will drive the difficulty through the roof!!!

Botnets to Bitcoin is what GPU's were to Bitcoin 9 months ago (less the illegal part).  The smart ones are packing their gear and selling off now.  I just shut down a 26gh network and now with the help of friends we are packing it up and preparing it for shipping, for sale.

While Botnets are illegal as all hell, that will not stop people.  Again all you need it 20-50 successful Botnets running to shut down the miners of today.  So that’s 20-50 people WORLDWIDE operating their individual Botnets.  Do you really believe that there are not 50 people on the planet that have the know how to do it, and would not do it.  Do the math people.


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June 27, 2011, 04:28:10 PM
 #29

So why hasn't it happened yet? The clever controllers of botnets surely have heard about bitcoin by now?

Actually if a botnet had a million PC's, you wouldn't need 20-50, you'd only need one to exceed the hashing power of the network. The fact that it hasn't been done yet means it's not easy - that's unlikely to change, so I'm confident that it won't be.

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lemonginger
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June 27, 2011, 06:37:43 PM
 #30

That is silly. Just because there are time delays in terms of deploying the necessary software and/or infecting new machines with the necessary software doesn't mean that it won't happen. It is actually perversely good for bitcoin in a way, if those that have large numbers of machines at their disposal have an economic incentive to strengthen the network, rather than attack/undermine it.

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June 27, 2011, 07:03:31 PM
 #31

Exactly, even if this did happen it would hardly be a catastrophe. All that would happen is the hash-rate spikes and difficulty goes up.

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lemonginger
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June 27, 2011, 07:50:18 PM
 #32

And a lot of miners would have sad puppy dog faces
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June 27, 2011, 08:06:39 PM
 #33

One positive side effect of all these botnet operators starting to mine bitcoin is that it might lead to a massive reduction in spam.

If you were a botnet operator, why would you continue renting your botnet to spammers, when it's so much more lucrative to mine bitcoins? Spam has extremely low returns per infected computer. Think about it...

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June 27, 2011, 09:25:34 PM
 #34

Yet another spin on the "mining will be unprofitable because difficulty will skyrocket and the price is staying at $xx", except this time its not ASICs/FPGAs, subsidized gamers, or other invested miners that are the threat, but botnets.

Botnet operators have many different choices of monetizing the machines they control, from click fraud to credit card fraud to DDoS attacks and spam.  Sometimes they just sell the botnet outright.  You might be able find where they sell them and look at  prices.  If a very large botnet is not hard to achieve then they shouldn't be very expensive (in truth it isn't easy to infect many machines, so large ones are expensive). 

Profits from credit card and banking fraud set the base cost of a botnet.  Do you think monetizing by mining (which will mainly be CPU power not GPU) will be more profitable than credit card and banking fraud?  If anything, botnet operators will probably be looking to capture bank logins to buy bitcoins.

Miners who sell their coins high and buy back in cheap will be the ones making the most profit.  Miners who sell their coins continuously at the going rate will be the ones who regret it.

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June 28, 2011, 12:21:10 AM
 #35

Great discussion.  I would also like to point out that if a computer is mining, esp ordinary machines, this will tie up all processes and make the machine very slow.  I'm sure most owners will notice and do something about it, i.e. reformat

You are correct.  Click fraud and stealing credit card information would be more profitable... with that being said, mining for bitcoins is more legit at this point.

It's a tug-a-war game.  Haa....
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June 28, 2011, 12:30:50 AM
 #36

Eventually price will go up since your mining will take longer.
Mining will always be profitable.
The only that is still a issue is the 2 week reset lag it has.

Mining difficulty don't mean sh*t for BTC pricing, only real demand (speculation or not) determines BTC price. Mining difficulty simply lag the price for a few weeks, though it will FOLLOW the price, not the other way around. Price will not follow mining difficulty.

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zaphod
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June 28, 2011, 01:07:12 AM
 #37

Great discussion.  I would also like to point out that if a computer is mining, esp ordinary machines, this will tie up all processes and make the machine very slow.  I'm sure most owners will notice and do something about it, i.e. reformat

You are correct.  Click fraud and stealing credit card information would be more profitable... with that being said, mining for bitcoins is more legit at this point.

It's a tug-a-war game.  Haa....

It doesn't impact performance at all if the thread runs at idle priority, or if it only runs when the computer is idle.

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marcus_of_augustus
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June 28, 2011, 01:27:46 AM
 #38


Just hilarious that it happens when Europe wakes .... "ah, feels like a good day to get up and mine some bitcoins bot-net, let's roll!"

Wonder if it is on that 35 hour socialistic work week they got over there in euroland?

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June 30, 2011, 11:31:02 AM
 #39

has anyone ever considered that bitcoin pretty much is a botnet itself?
I mean, really, people, you are all doing distributed work which is controlled by a piece of software over the network.

To translate from the german wikipedia entry for botnet:
Quote
A botnet is a group of software bots. these bots run on networked computers, whose network connectivity and local resources are at their disposal.

One other from the english wiki page:
Quote
Botnets are controlled en masse via protocols such as IRC and http.

Anyone hearing a bell ringing? The only difference is that most Bitcoiners run the software willingly.

Another small, but very important difference: No C&C Server, meaning no herder.

BitCoin address: 1E25UJEbifEejpYh117APmjYSXdLiJUCAZ
marcus_of_augustus
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July 01, 2011, 09:41:29 AM
 #40

has anyone ever considered that bitcoin pretty much is a botnet itself?
I mean, really, people, you are all doing distributed work which is controlled by a piece of software over the network.

To translate from the german wikipedia entry for botnet:
Quote
A botnet is a group of software bots. these bots run on networked computers, whose network connectivity and local resources are at their disposal.

One other from the english wiki page:
Quote
Botnets are controlled en masse via protocols such as IRC and http.

Anyone hearing a bell ringing? The only difference is that most Bitcoiners run the software willingly.

Another small, but very important difference: No C&C Server, meaning no herder.

... and the big difference is the miners get paid for work performed voluntarily ... the bot machine is a slave to someone else's control that has been stolen through force and coercion ... in fact, bitcoin net is the anti-botnet ... how long until these schmuck's with the compromised windoze shitboxes wake up to how much they are getting stolen from them Huh

ffs ... fools and their money.

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