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Author Topic: Hostile action against the bitcoin infrastracture  (Read 19425 times)
jgarzik
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December 27, 2010, 03:28:19 PM
 #21

More likely, many people will use a website such as mybitcoin rather than the bitcoin client.

Each user then only has to worry about their login password, just like other banking websites.

Jeff Garzik, bitcoin core dev team and BitPay engineer; opinions are my own, not my employer.
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Stephen Gornick
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December 28, 2010, 04:22:25 PM
 #22

I am opening this thread to explore possible scenarios of hostile action [...]

How do you know they haven't already started? 

Consumer demand isn't the only thing that prices an item $150 over list price.
  http://www.pricewatch.com/gallery/video_cards/radeon_hd_5970

h4ck3rk1ng
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December 31, 2010, 08:07:10 AM
 #23

How to fuck up bitcoins infrastructure:

Purchase ~ 100k - 1M Bit coins across 2 accounts.
Make a script that automatically send the money between each account using a new addres each time (the addresses would be written to a database where the script could get it from)

If you get 20-40 transactions per second, that would significantly increase the workload as everybody has to verify those payments.

So you would add, lets say 1M transactions that needs to be verified. Lets see, it takes about 15 mins to get two verifications. How long will it takes to get a million?
caveden
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December 31, 2010, 08:23:20 AM
 #24

Your rich attacker would have to spend quite a lot on transactions fees.

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davout
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December 31, 2010, 09:16:20 AM
 #25

So you would add, lets say 1M transactions that needs to be verified. Lets see, it takes about 15 mins to get two verifications. How long will it takes to get a million?
You're doing it wrong

FreeMoney
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December 31, 2010, 09:25:29 AM
 #26

How to fuck up bitcoins infrastructure:

Purchase ~ 100k - 1M Bit coins across 2 accounts.
Make a script that automatically send the money between each account using a new addres each time (the addresses would be written to a database where the script could get it from)

If you get 20-40 transactions per second, that would significantly increase the workload as everybody has to verify those payments.

So you would add, lets say 1M transactions that needs to be verified. Lets see, it takes about 15 mins to get two verifications. How long will it takes to get a million?

Oh snap, selling all coins now. How did we not think of this?

I for one thought that ~150 transactions a day would be plenty. I can't believe we forgot about spam.

Play Bitcoin Poker at sealswithclubs.eu. We're active and open to everyone.
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January 01, 2011, 12:39:15 AM
 #27

How to fuck up bitcoins infrastructure:

Purchase ~ 100k - 1M Bit coins across 2 accounts.
Make a script that automatically send the money between each account using a new addres each time (the addresses would be written to a database where the script could get it from)

If you get 20-40 transactions per second, that would significantly increase the workload as everybody has to verify those payments.

So you would add, lets say 1M transactions that needs to be verified. Lets see, it takes about 15 mins to get two verifications. How long will it takes to get a million?



If all else fails read the instuctions.
MoonShadow
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January 01, 2011, 01:35:33 AM
 #28

How to fuck up bitcoins infrastructure:

Purchase ~ 100k - 1M Bit coins across 2 accounts.
Make a script that automatically send the money between each account using a new addres each time (the addresses would be written to a database where the script could get it from)

If you get 20-40 transactions per second, that would significantly increase the workload as everybody has to verify those payments.

So you would add, lets say 1M transactions that needs to be verified. Lets see, it takes about 15 mins to get two verifications. How long will it takes to get a million?

I'm consistently surprised that there is some newbie every week who brings this stuff up as if it is some kind of unique revelation.

Yes, we are aware of the spamming issue.

No, it's not really a problem.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
nowhereman
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January 01, 2011, 07:52:41 AM
 #29

Two problems that were brought up don't really work. The first is the question of a worm that attacks wallets. while I agree that the artificial limit at 21 million is a pretty bad idea, a worm that attacks bitcoins would not be effective. A worm would need criteria to use to attack wallets. For example it could use the extension on the file, but that can be changed or hidden in an archive. The worm could be 'smart' and do deep analysis to find and destroy wallets, but wallets can be stored on uneraseable media (a 25c cd is a small price compared to a $2k loss) or the file could be encrypted so as to obfuscate that data. Indeed even a simple xor would effectively mask data from a worm. Finally worms have a hard time actually spreading to do this sort of damage. If a large enough segment of the population uses bitcoins so as to actually cause the government to try to destroy it, then I am sure the number of households w/ the program would be greater than 5%.

The second problem is the idea that the gov traces the individuals involved and prosecutes them. Sure, the average user might be susceptible to that, but a good proxy will protect any individual from simple tracing. To further obfuscate actual locations an onion route could be placed between a node and the end user. At this point trojaning is likely the only route to actually attacking the end user, but this can be avoided by imply following those oft mentioned rules of internet security, or even using a computer only away from home if it will be used for bitcoins. While one may argue that these are 'advanced', I have more faith in the general populaces ability to protect themselves.

Now for what I think is most likely the downfall of bitcoins. The biggest problem with bitcoins isn't the fact that it isn't used for 'common' purchases. After all, the purpose of bitcoin is more one of privacy which is easily given up by purchases in the real world (Uncle Sam knows you used money to buy that car and so that is still taxable). The easiest way to attack bitcoin is to make it impossible, or at least very very difficult to exchange bit coin for USD (or LR, MTGOX, or the like). I have only recently joined bitcoin (I love the idea, though I am wondering about its viability for this reason). I have now discovered how amazingly difficult it is to trade bitcoin for USD via PP or debit. This is further compounded by the fact that I use a prepaid cell and so I cannot verify with the major exchangers so that I can buy LR to exchange for MTGOX. Certainly my situation is unique, but an effective take down of any financial institutions that permit direct BC to USD (or EUR or whatever) would drive the BTC economy underground. In such a situation BTC would survive only as an underground currency that would have to be traded direct between individuals. I highly doubt the voracity of the BTC community to stand with bitcoins in this situation.

Looking for small PP buyers. I will pay all fees involved in the transaction. Send me a message if interested.

My wallet address: 1A7YDdyyLhxgAh5oXJj6jpouaofFsosW7r

Send me coins for amusing you with my ignorance Smiley
kiba
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January 01, 2011, 02:12:28 PM
 #30

Two problems that were brought up don't really work. The first is the question of a worm that attacks wallets. while I agree that the artificial limit at 21 million is a pretty bad idea.

We have 8 digit percison right of the decimal. 21 million bitcoins is not a problem.

nowhereman
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January 01, 2011, 08:02:47 PM
 #31

Two problems that were brought up don't really work. The first is the question of a worm that attacks wallets. while I agree that the artificial limit at 21 million is a pretty bad idea.

We have 8 digit percison right of the decimal. 21 million bitcoins is not a problem.

I do remember this. However people tend to like things that are either concrete or can be imagined in a concrete manner. The more fractional an ownership is, the less tangible it will be. For example, when buying a stock in the market you are actually buying a very small percentage of a company (often less than .0001% per share). However shares in a company are not referenced in this manner. They are instead reference in discrete units. Likewise, we could buy ant sell fractional pieces of bitcoins, but doing that would probably make their use less attractive for the above reasons. Also as wallets are lost (and they will be lost), many large chunks of bit coins will 'disappear'. While certainly I will take damn good care of my bitcoins, and I presume many other people will, we cannot assume that this is the norm or even if it were that the few would not make unavailable a large percentage of bitcoins. Instead of merely subdividing bitcoins, we should have a plan to add more as time goes on. How we do this without getting rid of the decentralized nature of bit coins (a good feature of BTC in my opinion) is anyone's guess. Never-the-less though, artificial limits are not useful for non-backed currencies.

Looking for small PP buyers. I will pay all fees involved in the transaction. Send me a message if interested.

My wallet address: 1A7YDdyyLhxgAh5oXJj6jpouaofFsosW7r

Send me coins for amusing you with my ignorance Smiley
lucky
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January 01, 2011, 08:51:32 PM
 #32


[...] However people tend to like things that are either concrete or can be imagined in a concrete manner. The more fractional an ownership is, the less tangible it will be. [...]

I suspect a fairly conventionalized subunit would emerge as soon as it is plausible.

0.001 BTC could be a millibitcoin.

In fact, if we go with SI prefixes let's just hash it out right now.

1 bitcoin = 1000 (thousand) millibitcoins = 1'000'000 (million) microbitcoins = 1'000'000'000 (billion) nanobitcoins.

I think that's where the protocol hits its limit? 

Going on a "real value" exchange of the global GDP (100 trillion USD roughly) expressed as 21 million bitcoins, a microbitcoin would be worth $4.7 dollars and a nanobitcoin 0.0047 USD or about half a cent.

Fairly manageable values.
kiba
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January 01, 2011, 09:24:03 PM
 #33



I do remember this. However people tend to like things that are either concrete or can be imagined in a concrete manner. The more fractional an ownership is, the less tangible it will be. For example, when buying a stock in the market you are actually buying a very small percentage of a company (often less than .0001% per share). However shares in a company are not referenced in this manner.

Citation needed.

Dude, it's called using blah miliBTC if you hate fractional an ownership so much.

Cdecker
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January 01, 2011, 09:25:27 PM
 #34

I don't think Bitcoin is the ultimate solution. It will eventually disappear and be replaced by a new system. But I still stick to it, because now (and in the near future) it has value. Should a new, better, system be developed I'm sure the two will coexist for a certain time and allow people to transition to the new system, a few will stick to the old system which will lose value while the new one gathers momentum.

We cannot foresee the future, but we can express our trust to the current system by investing in it.

Right now Bitcoin availability for new Users and Services accepting Bitcoins are IMHO the major limiting factors. Acknowledging about the problem certainly the first step to solving it, so keep the brainstorming up ^^

Want to see what developers are chatting about? http://bitcoinstats.com/irc/bitcoin-dev/logs/
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ShadowOfHarbringer
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January 01, 2011, 09:33:48 PM
 #35

Just to contribute a potential attack methodology...

Wallet eating viruses.

Then people using bitcoin will simply switch to Linux, or have a separate Linux partition just for bitcoin.
If you use Linux only with software from signed repositories, it is virtually impossible to catch a virus.

I don't think Bitcoin is the ultimate solution.

And that is.... why exactly ?
Having any better ideas, or just empty words ?

Of course, bitcoin will not exist in its current form forever. As time goes on, it will evolve.

Cdecker
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January 01, 2011, 11:24:57 PM
 #36

Of course, bitcoin will not exist in its current form forever. As time goes on, it will evolve.
My point exactly, if I had a better solution now I'd be happily hacking on my own version of Bitcoin, but I don't (yet) Cheesy

Want to see what developers are chatting about? http://bitcoinstats.com/irc/bitcoin-dev/logs/
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davout
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January 01, 2011, 11:27:16 PM
 #37

I do remember this. However people tend to like things that are either concrete or can be imagined in a concrete manner. The more fractional an ownership is, the less tangible it will be. For example, when buying a stock in the market you are actually buying a very small percentage of a company (often less than .0001% per share). However shares in a company are not referenced in this manner.

We need to make a nanoCoin wiki page...

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January 02, 2011, 12:01:44 AM
 #38

Stuxnet is a weaponized virus. Its a scary example of what can be achieved against a countries infrastructure.

Luckily bitcoin is not a country   Grin

Mahkul
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January 02, 2011, 12:06:22 AM
 #39

Just to contribute a potential attack methodology...

Wallet eating viruses.

Then people using bitcoin will simply switch to Linux, or have a separate Linux partition just for bitcoin.
If you use Linux only with software from signed repositories, it is virtually impossible to catch a virus.

I actually think what Innomen is saying makes a lot of sense. Switching to Linux will not be possible for people who can barely operate Windows. It is not us, the technical people that need to worry about this, but since we try to convince more and more people to start using Bitcoin (for example I got a few of my friends into using Bitcoin, but most of them have no idea how it all works and I doubt they encrypt their wallet with TrueCrypt after every transaction and copy it to five different places), they will be the ones affected by the viruses. Once virus' authors realize there is money in it, they will save no effort to get to one's wallet.

Another VERY important aspect of this is that people need to be aware of the fact that after they copy their wallet into a safe place they should start using a new one. Why? Because most people make backup copies after a new transaction (I personally do that after a big transaction). Now, if an attacker or a virus manages to transfer coins from your account - your backup copy is useless. It's actually better if the virus corrupts your wallet instead of using it (if you have a backup). And, since the wallet is not encrypted, I suppose this is not impossible? Please correct me if I am wrong.

Bitalo.com coming soon!

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bitcool
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January 02, 2011, 12:56:48 AM
 #40

All of these, of course, can be fixed with the robotic courier network!

Or less ambitious, local bitcoin dealers.
we have self-driving google cars, we have vending machines, what else do we need to make a robotic courier network?
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