September 22, 2018 at
Bitcoin network patched against DDoS attacks
Bitcoin (BTC) enthusiasts have had a short, but worrisome, period since the recent discovery of a flaw that has been making it vulnerable to DDoS attacks. However, the Bitcoin Core team was quick to respond, and the newly-released patch has strengthened the network.
According to the patch note, all miners are advised to immediately shut down all the older versions, and replace them with the new one. The new version, called Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 is much safer, as it eliminated the vulnerability to DDoS attacks. Such attacks usually involve multiple compromised devices flooding a single system with information requests. The system would typically get overloaded with such requests, and due to its incapability to handle them, it would shut down.
Attackers could use this method to either flood the nodes on BTC P2P network and over-utilize the bandwidth, or to choose to overflood the block by making transaction duplicates and jam the transaction confirmation. According to recent reports, the newly-discovered vulnerability (CVE-2018-17144) would attempt the flooding of node operators. The report also claims that anyone capable of mining BTC would have the ability to crash Bitcoin Cores software. The miners are still in danger and will be until they implement the new patch.
One thing to note is that the miners who were running Bitcoin Core only occasionally are not in danger of suffering the consequences of the attack. Even so, the developers recommend adding the new patch, just to be safe. Another reason for adding the patch is the fact that it fixed other minor issues that were previously noticed.
Crypto networks vulnerable to DDoS attacks
While the Bitcoin network’s DDoS vulnerability definitely received a lot of attention, it is important to note that it is not the only one with such vulnerabilities. This basically means that hackers could just as easily target any other network. Numerous other clients, such as Bitcoin Cash, and even Ethereum itself, have reported having flaws like this.
At one point, Ethereum’s network even suffered a month-long attack, and as a result, millions of dead accounts were created on it. The developers had to cause two on-chain forks, as well as one process off-chain in order to resolve the issues. However, this was not the only attack that ETH suffered. Another one managed to slow down the network so much that the gas fees had to be increased in order for the attack to be repelled. Luckily, the consensus failure was avoided.
Obviously, the DDoS attacks still remain a large problem, and according to reports, they are becoming more and more popular. The problem is on a global scale at this point, and no area on the internet is truly safe from them.
The latest report by Europol even states that the attacks continue to grow against public and private sectors alike. The attacks can be performed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the motivation behind them concerns finances. Other times, it is ideological, or political. Then again, sometimes, the attacks are performed for purely malicious reasons. The fact is that DDoS attacks have become so frequent, that only the malware infestation of 2017 has been worse than the current situation.
While the attacks are more than just a nuisance, they still managed to bring one positive thing, which is strengthening of the decentralized networks. That way, single entities can do little damage. Additionally, it is believed that a lot of these hackers are crypto holders themselves. Because of this, it is unlikely that many of them would join a coordinated attack on BTC or altcoins since they would suffer from such an attack as much as their victims.