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Author Topic: Will botnets be the death of Bitcoin?  (Read 968 times)
mpfrank
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June 25, 2011, 05:18:31 AM
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Hi, I had a disturbing thought of what the implications would be for Bitcoin if botnets come to dominate the network...

Let's assume that up until now, most miners have had to (directly or indirectly) cover the cost of their mining activity... Electric bill, depreciation of hardware, etc.

This was good because it ensured that BTC price and aggregate network performance (a.k.a. difficulty) would always rise more or less in tandem, since if the price being paid for new BTC was not enough to cover the operating costs of mining rigs, then mining activity (and difficulty) would tend to slack off, and this would bring the price and cost back in line.

However, if botnets come to (or already) dominate the mining capacity, then it is a different story.  Since botnet operators do not pay the cost to run their rigs, they have a strong incentive to over-mine, increasing difficulty to such a level that ordinary "honest" miners are no longer able to compete - because if difficulty grows faster than price for a while, it soon becomes unprofitable to run an honest rig.

What this will mean is that increasingly, honest players will drop out of the mining business, and so the Bitcoin network will become dominated by the one or two most-successful botnet players.  Eventually, a situation may arise where these black-hats control more than 50% of the nodes, at which point they can violate the integrity of the protocol and build a fraudulent chain - undoing past transactions and double-spending their coins.  At which point all faith in the currency would be lost.

Any thoughts?

If all the sovereign non-cryptocurrencies will eventually collapse from hyperinflation, you can't afford *not* to invest in Bitcoin...  See my blog at http://minetopics.blogspot.com/ .

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bmgjet
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June 25, 2011, 05:28:55 AM
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A CPU botnet would = weak hash rate.
But if it was a GPU botnet then that would turn out some impressive numbers if they got a lot of computer in on it.

Only real problem will be, Easy to spot since youll hear the fans on your computer going faster and it will be noticable in task manger and the general slowing down of your computer.

A GPU one would be a bit harder to spot apart from the fan being louder but any one with a decent GPU will eather be smart enough to notice or will be using it for games so it will be noticed that way.

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June 25, 2011, 05:48:58 AM
 #3

People from Google browse and use this forum.  They are not anti Bitcoin.  They have Solar Power and other forms of alternative electric energy.  They swoop in, create large generators specifically for mining.  They are able to regulate to a certain degree the value of the Bitcoin, as well as somehow make it safer for the general consumer.

I think there are bigger things to think about that botnets.



Everyone needs to stop focusing on some odd things that could and could not happen with Bitcoin and focus on spending it on goods and services.

bmgjet
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June 25, 2011, 09:20:16 AM
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Doubt solor power would be cost effective since its the most expensive one to create power and only works half the time, Hydro or wind would be a more likly source but then the start up costs make it non-profitable for a few years and even longer with maintenance costs, Would be cheaper for them to just buy it.

But with there vast computer power and embending it in there programes they could get a lot of processing power.

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gaglia
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June 25, 2011, 09:40:45 AM
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The real deal would be to find a way to generate bitcoins in a secure way by solving useful calculations, such as raw data coming from chemical computation grids, or collected data in particle accelerators and so on. I'm not saying that reversing hashes is totally useless (it IS useful because it allows to build the bitcoin network!), but switching to more useful calculations would be better for sure. Problem is, I can just have a glimpse of the MANY security implications of this method: working on not-totally-random data raises so many potential attack windows that the waste of electricity is probably the last problem bitcoin would meet in the near future...

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bmgjet
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June 25, 2011, 09:51:23 AM
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The real deal would be to find a way to generate bitcoins in a secure way by solving useful calculations, such as raw data coming from chemical computation grids, or collected data in particle accelerators and so on. I'm not saying that reversing hashes is totally useless (it IS useful because it allows to build the bitcoin network!), but switching to more useful calculations would be better for sure. Problem is, I can just have a glimpse of the MANY security implications of this method: working on not-totally-random data raises so many potential attack windows that the waste of electricity is probably the last problem bitcoin would meet in the near future...


So a seti@home that you get payed for.

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mikanori
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June 25, 2011, 10:07:18 AM
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There are better things to worry about then mining botnets. Here are the simple reasons:
1. Most computers do not have a decent GPU that is needed for mining, so GPU mining botnet is not viable.
2. CPU mining is about 2 orders of magnitude slower than GPU, so the botnet with thousands of nodes would be less powerfull than most rigs of the casual miners.
3. Infection is easily detectable because of the spinning fans, thus modes would live very long.
Manko
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June 25, 2011, 10:13:23 AM
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Botnets wouldn't be the death of Bitcoin, if they could ever be any good. They'd be the death of the ordinary miner. If they could ever add a serious amount of hash, then their added power will drive up the difficulty extremely fast.
waspoza
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June 25, 2011, 10:21:38 AM
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Well, first must be ati stream installed to use gpu for mining. Im not sure if this can be ninja installed by bot...
Opsamk
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June 25, 2011, 10:31:16 AM
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A botnet would ruin mining for everyone by driving difficulty levels to impossible, but bitcoin will still hold it's value and might even drive up prices.

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mpfrank
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June 25, 2011, 02:18:00 PM
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A botnet would not necessarily need GPUs.  Even if each CPU only gets 1 Mhash/s, if you have 100,000 CPUs in your botnet, that's some serious mining power.  There are rumors floating around that members of hacker groups like Anonymous and Lulzsec have already been using their botnets to mine Bitcoins at a huge rate, earning thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoins per day.

The controller of the botnet does not care that they are being energy-inefficient, since he is not the one paying the electric bill.

Botnets exist and work because many computers have clueless owners, or else sit turned-on but unattended much of the time.  Just because the fan is running faster doesn't necessarily mean that the owner will notice and turn the computer off, or catch the infection with an anti-malware checker right away.  Even if they notice their electric bill has gone up, they might not realize it's the computer for quite a while.

My point is, as botnets contribute more and more to the total mining capacity, they will *not* drive the price up at the same speed, because the botnet operators will continue deploying more mining power regardless of whether the price is high enough to pay the electric bills - since they are not the ones paying the bill.  With normal miners, if the price isn't high enough to support their activity, they will slack off, and the law of supply and demand will force the price to rise to a level that supports mining activity again.

It seems to me like a serious problem, well worth worrying about.  Certainly much more significant than solar-powered mining, which would certainly remain only a tiny minority of the activity for the foreseeable future.  Solar panels are still very expensive to deploy - much more so than botnets.

If all the sovereign non-cryptocurrencies will eventually collapse from hyperinflation, you can't afford *not* to invest in Bitcoin...  See my blog at http://minetopics.blogspot.com/ .

Donations accepted at:  17twYNyqTiCTM2gJmumkytvhZh4sCVSKNH
p2pgh0st
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June 27, 2011, 09:40:52 AM
 #12

Nice to read all this.... And this is the only reaseon why I registerd here on this forum....

First of all! STOP TALKING ABOUT SHIT YOU DON`T KNOW!

To all those who say: "Ah, botnets won´t be a problem... I keep spending $$$$ on mining hardware!". I wish you good luck.

Fact is! Mining with a botnet WORKS! Why do I know that? BECAUSE I DO!

ATM I´m still betatesting, but I get 2GH/s aout of a small 1k botnet!

In the next few days, I´m going to mine with about 100k... this means about 2TH/s.

And I´m sure, that I´m not the only one doing this....

Difficulty will keep increasing! This won´t affect BC as a currency, but Mining won´t be profitable for regular miners...
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