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Author Topic: How to dismantled the awesome security of Bitcoin network in 4 simple steps.  (Read 2617 times)
DeathAndTaxes
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Gerald Davis


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October 19, 2011, 01:59:54 AM
 #1

To achieve a 51% attack on the Bitcoin network via brute force would require millions of dollars worth of hardware.  The necessity of specialized hardware (GPU) excludes any "reduced cost" attack by putting an attack outside the capabilities of even the largest botnets or cloud instances.

Say you didn't want that kind of security.  Here is how to introduce flaws that significantly reduce the cost of attacking your alt chain:

1) Convince yourself that wealth = trust despite lots of historical evidence to the contrary.

2) Devise a system to use a network of trusted nodes to sign every second block of your block chain.   Make the requirement for this trusted node status 1 million coins giving the attacker a method to gain "trust".  

3) Make your blockchain GPU-unfriendly so attackers can harness the ultra low cost of commodity cloud CPU power.

4) Keep source code a secret, use no peer review in development, and make yourself completely in charge to ensure nobody voices any concerns until too late.  Everyone knows one set of eyes is better than a thousands.

Here is how the attack works.

Step 1:
Attacker amasses 1 million coins.  Say if your coins were worth 1.4 cents currently that would only be $14,000.   Now someone will point out if you buy them all the price will skyrocket.  While that may be true for a retard lets assume the attacker is smart.  Attacker could buy small amounts on the market.  Attacker could simultaneously approach users w/ large amounts of hashing power and sign short term contracts for say 20% over market value.  Attacker could also use EC2 cloud or botnets to generate coins.  If the attacker is smart and uses a balanced approach they could amass 1 mil coins cheaply.

Once attacker has 1 mil coins he is a trusted node.  Magic how getting 1 mil coins (maybe even through stolen hashing power - aka botnet) makes you trusted.  

Step 1a:
An alternative approach would be for attacker to scam/defraud/steal coins.  For example if the mybitcoin.com operators had existed on this alt-chain through their outright theft they would now be considered "trusted".  Don't you see the logic?

Step 2:
Attacker now checks the average block signing time for the even blocks to estimate hashing power of even trusted nodes.   Using EC2 cloud or botnet attacker ramps up his trusted node's hashing power to 100x the trusted nodes hashing power.  While this may seem like a lot in reality it isn't.  See we have made this very easy for the attacker.  In essence we have ensured the much larger hashing power of the "untrusted network" can't help us to protect the vulnerable trusted nodes.  If there are only a few (or say one) trusted node you could produce a super powerful trusted attack node with only ~100 CPU.  Now building 100 CPU may be a challenge but you can always rent them from Amazon for ... $40 per hour.  If we massively overpower the other trusted nodes then we are defacto the only effective trusted node as we have a reasonable chance of always signing a node faster than any other trusted node. If there is only one well that makes it even easier.

Step 3:
Launch a normal 51% attack against the network.  Normally this would be prohibitively expensive however the use of low cost cloud CPU resources , botnets, and rogue system admins mean that low cost commodity CPU can be used to win via numerical superiority.  Say your alt chain has 0.05234GH/s of hashing power and average CPU gets 10KH/s.  That is only ~5000 CPUs necessary to achieve 51% control over the network.  A well timed DDOS attack against major pools could degrade that network hashing power significantly.  When 5000 CPU are available via Amazon for $160 per hour or less with unlawful computing power you start to realize how a trivial sum can be used to attack the network.

Step 4:
Attacker now has control over the block chain. The combination of trusted nodes and CPU-friendly algorithm allowed this to happen for a trivially small amount of resources.
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October 19, 2011, 02:21:30 AM
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Well, but no one on earth would be stupid enough to design an alt-currency with that many obvious flaws! ... Right?
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October 19, 2011, 02:52:12 AM
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Any business that trades with Solidcoin is stupid.

Simplecoin just needs to be glad that whoever gained root access via a sql injection in their forum was only after Solidcoin user names and PW and not the wallets. Rumour has it a "coinhunter.md" was left behind explaining what happened and why.

Basically it is going to come to a point where the pain of supporting Solidcoin is more than any benefit.

But I like the way you think,  Grin Grin Grin

So is Simplecoin coming back?  Are they just down for the moment?

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October 19, 2011, 04:52:11 AM
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No release?
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October 19, 2011, 04:58:37 AM
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i think he means release of the SC usernames and passwords?

Nice idea Death, can't see how it would fail. Same 51% attack except you have to have 1m coins first. easy. Looking forward to seeing drawl from CH about how it's wrong.

Tips: 1xzionJBueq1AkPSmexA7suWkztAkNwSs
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October 19, 2011, 08:35:29 AM
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So they hacked simplecoin, a pool that doesnt host solidcoin in order to get solidcoin accounts?

Do you not see how retarded this looks?

...In the land of the stale, the man with one share is king... >> Clipse

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October 19, 2011, 09:14:25 AM
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So they hacked simplecoin, a pool that doesnt host solidcoin in order to get solidcoin accounts?

Do you not see how retarded this looks?

Some of them will crossref and yes they had a Solidcoin operation in the first go round.

https://solidcoin.simplecoin.us/lostpassword.php

Even after as many as I have cracked, I am still shocked at the number of people who will use the same PW over and over and over....

Someone is building a pretty lengthy case on you somewhere. Keep admitting more and more criminal behavior.  Cheesy

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October 19, 2011, 10:16:23 AM
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FlipPro, I think someones building a case on you...lol

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October 19, 2011, 10:30:12 AM
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You forgot what was pointed out during the ddos attack on the major pools.

1) knock out the 3 most major pools
2) run the 51% attack against a greatly reduced network before anyone has chance to react.

Must say tho if bitcoin watch figures can be trusted its nice to see such a large "others" wedge in the hashing pie chart.
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October 19, 2011, 01:13:23 PM
 #10

Yes, if you steal a double digit percentage of the total bitcoins in existence, and then create a massive botnet capable of performing a 51% attack, you could effectively control Bitcoin...  my first two thoughts are "duh" and "wat" followed by "duh" and "duuuhhhh" and "who cares".

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October 19, 2011, 10:34:27 PM
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Yes, if you steal a double digit percentage of the total bitcoins in existence, and then create a massive botnet capable of performing a 51% attack, you could effectively control Bitcoin...  my first two thoughts are "duh" and "wat" followed by "duh" and "duuuhhhh" and "who cares".

This wasn't about Bitcoin.
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October 19, 2011, 10:40:31 PM
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You forgot what was pointed out during the ddos attack on the major pools.

1) knock out the 3 most major pools
2) run the 51% attack against a greatly reduced network before anyone has chance to react.

Must say tho if bitcoin watch figures can be trusted its nice to see such a large "others" wedge in the hashing pie chart.


Like today for instance....the pools are down but hashrate has increased...interesting.
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October 19, 2011, 10:44:30 PM
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You forgot what was pointed out during the ddos attack on the major pools.

1) knock out the 3 most major pools
2) run the 51% attack against a greatly reduced network before anyone has chance to react.

Must say tho if bitcoin watch figures can be trusted its nice to see such a large "others" wedge in the hashing pie chart.


Like today for instance....the pools are down but hashrate has increased...interesting.

Most miners give you and option to setup fallover pool.  Prior to last DDOS attack most miners were complacent and didn't use it.  They lost a lot of missed hashes.  Others stupidly clung on thinking the big 3 would be up in matter of minutes and lost hours more.  Today miners are more likely to either use auto-failover or manually point their rigs to a smaller pool.
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October 19, 2011, 11:12:05 PM
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Most miners give you and option to setup fallover pool.  Prior to last DDOS attack most miners were complacent and didn't use it.  They lost a lot of missed hashes.  Others stupidly clung on thinking the big 3 would be up in matter of minutes and lost hours more.  Today miners are more likely to either use auto-failover or manually point their rigs to a smaller pool.

Or solo mine as a backup. Solo mining is undosable and it prevents any one of the big three dosing the other two and performing a 51% attack.
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October 20, 2011, 06:59:16 AM
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Ah... missed the flipping obvious, think mr taxes is correct
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October 28, 2011, 01:43:10 PM
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Yes, if you steal a double digit percentage of the total bitcoins in existence, and then create a massive botnet capable of performing a 51% attack, you could effectively control Bitcoin...  my first two thoughts are "duh" and "wat" followed by "duh" and "duuuhhhh" and "who cares".

This wasn't about Bitcoin.

Maybe I'm just having a brain fart or maybe I'm just stupid, but could you explain it to me like I'm a child then, so I can understand what (or who) your point was?

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Gerald Davis


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October 28, 2011, 01:49:20 PM
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From the OP:
Quote
"Say you didn't want that kind of security (the security provided by Bitcoin's massive distributed network).  Here is how to introduce flaws that significantly reduce the cost of attacking your alt chain:"

That alt-chain is SolidCoin.
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October 28, 2011, 04:12:55 PM
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Wow, sounds like a real genius plan you got there, hotshot.

Ignoring the fallacy of the "security" of the massive hash power of the Bitcoin network (which has been dropping about 15% every 2 weeks), there are just one or two problems with your fabulous "plan"....

Step 1:
If the attacker is smart and uses a balanced approach they could amass 1 mil coins cheaply.

He'd have to be smart with a lot of money to burn, and a loooooong time to wait for those lowball sell orders to come in. Probably better off just putting the money in a bank account an earning interest tbqh. Right now it would be impossible to buy a million coins outright with any amount of money, there aren't that many for sale.

Quote
Step 1a:
An alternative approach would be for attacker to scam/defraud/steal coins.  For example if the mybitcoin.com operators had existed on this alt-chain through their outright theft they would now be considered "trusted".  Don't you see the logic?


Wait what, mybitcoin.com stoled a million bitcoins?? I thought the number was closer to 150k?

Do you not think if someone stole a million coins, the thousands of people complaining that they had their coins stolen would alert people to what was going on? The value of the coins would crash and your whole "plan" becomes a total waste of time.

Also, if you did manage to steal a million coins without the entire world knowing what is going on, why would you then use that wealth to destroy the network which makes them valuable? Surely human greed takes over at that point and you would just sell them?

Never mind, the rest of your plan is sure to be foolproof...

Quote
Step 2:
Attacker now checks the average block signing time for the even blocks to estimate hashing power of even trusted nodes.   Using EC2 cloud or botnet attacker ramps up his trusted node's hashing power to 100x the trusted nodes hashing power.  While this may seem like a lot in reality it isn't.  See we have made this very easy for the attacker.  In essence we have ensured the much larger hashing power of the "untrusted network" can't help us to protect the vulnerable trusted nodes.  If there are only a few (or say one) trusted node you could produce a super powerful trusted attack node with only ~100 CPU.  Now building 100 CPU may be a challenge but you can always rent them from Amazon for ... $40 per hour.  If we massively overpower the other trusted nodes then we are defacto the only effective trusted node as we have a reasonable chance of always signing a node faster than any other trusted node. If there is only one well that makes it even easier.

Lololol, maybe not then... Ok, so you don't appear to get how Trusted Nodes work. Wait for the Source to come out and you will see why this won't work.

Quote
Step 3:
Launch a normal 51% attack against the network.  Normally this would be prohibitively expensive however the use of low cost cloud CPU resources , botnets, and rogue system admins mean that low cost commodity CPU can be used to win via numerical superiority.  Say your alt chain has 0.05234GH/s of hashing power and average CPU gets 10KH/s.  That is only ~5000 CPUs necessary to achieve 51% control over the network.  A well timed DDOS attack against major pools could degrade that network hashing power significantly.  When 5000 CPU are available via Amazon for $160 per hour or less with unlawful computing power you start to realize how a trivial sum can be used to attack the network.

Cute, but I think you overestimate how "cheap" Cloud CPU power is. To rent 5000 CPUs for any significant amount of time you would need quite a lot of money, much more than you could ever hope to earn out of this crazy scheme.

Plus how will you configure all of these clients? You would need a team of people working round the clock, will they all work for free?

$160 an Hour? Even at this price (which is pure fantasy), that means if you need a couple of days to set up and pull off your attack you're spending 7 grand on cloud computing power.. If you need a week, you'll spend over 25 grand. Do you expect to make this money back somehow with this attack, or are you just doing this for lulz? You'll somehow need to raise this money just to attempt to destroy something for no reason and with no guarantees it will even work...

Quote
Step 4:
Attacker now has control over the block chain. The combination of trusted nodes and CPU-friendly algorithm allowed this to happen for a trivially small amount of resources.

Uhuh... lets say your crazy scheme does work and you just spent $50k to buy up a million Solidcoins, "overpower" the trusted nodes and perform a 51% attack on this "imaginary" network, now what? Destroy it? You sure as fuck won't be able to sell the coins you steal, everyone will know what has just happened so the price would drop to zero. So what's the point of all this? You could have spent that $50k on drugs, or a car...
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October 28, 2011, 04:37:40 PM
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Lololol, maybe not then... Ok, so you don't appear to get how Trusted Nodes work. Wait for the Source to come out and you will see why this won't work.

Is that you CoinHunter?  Using the wrong sockpuppet again.  If source code hasn't been released then how do you know what the source code will reveal.

Quote
$160 an Hour? Even at this price (which is pure fantasy), that means if you need a couple of days to set up and pull off your attack you're spending 7 grand on cloud computing power.. If you need a week, you'll spend over 25 grand. Do you expect to make this money back somehow with this attack, or are you just doing this for lulz? You'll somehow need to raise this money just to attempt to destroy something for no reason and with no guarantees it will even work...

Why would you need a week.  You do understand how a double spend works right?  You just need to create an alternate chain long enough to generate sufficient confirmations for victims to accept the double spends as valid.  That is a few hours not weeks.

Quote
Uhuh... lets say your crazy scheme does work and you just spent $50k to buy up a million Solidcoins, "overpower" the trusted nodes and perform a 51% attack on this "imaginary" network, now what? Destroy it? You sure as fuck won't be able to sell the coins you steal, everyone will know what has just happened so the price would drop to zero. So what's the point of all this? You could have spent that $50k on drugs, or a car...

Um the point of a double spend is that by the time the network realizes and prices dropped you have already spent your funds twice and don't give a crap.  Granted SolidCoin is worthless but if it ever was you could for example take $100K worth of SC and buy $100K worth of BTC, perform attack and then buy $100K worth of BTC again.  $100K worth of SC -> $200K worth of BTC.  That is the entire reason for a double spend.  To in effect double your money (at the expense of victims).  An unlawful transfer of wealth from attacker to victim.
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October 28, 2011, 05:09:44 PM
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Um the point of a double spend is that by the time the network realizes and prices dropped you have already spent your funds twice and don't give a crap.  Granted SolidCoin is worthless but if it ever was you could for example take $100K worth of SC and buy $100K worth of BTC, perform attack and then buy $100K worth of BTC again.  $100K worth of SC -> $200K worth of BTC.  That is the entire reason for a double spend.  To in effect double your money (at the expense of victims).  An unlawful transfer of wealth from attacker to victim.

Exactly, therefore we need a solid 51% protection  Smiley
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