Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Bitcoin Security

Man Behind Week-Long Bitcoin Attacks Reveals Himself 71

An anonymous reader writes: A Russian man that calls himself "Alister Maclin" has been disrupting the Bitcoin network for over a week, creating duplicate transactions, and annoying users. According to Bitcoin experts, the attack was not dangerous and is the equivalent of "spam" on the Bitcoin blockchain servers, known in the industry as a "malleability attack," creating duplicate transactions, but not affecting Bitcoin funds. Maclin recently gave an interview to Vice.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Man Behind Week-Long Bitcoin Attacks Reveals Himself

Comments Filter:
  • by JcMorin ( 930466 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @06:36PM (#50689857)
    Bitcoin evolve and update it's codebase to adapt those kind of scenarios. Remember it's an experimental currency, so far so good!
    • Bitcoin has been around for six years. When does it stop bean able to use the "it's an experimental currency" excuse?

      • by JcMorin ( 930466 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @07:46PM (#50690235)
        Most fiat currency live about 100 years. Giving the fact that Bitcoin is a totally new concept (no central authority) I guess 20-30 years would be enough to prove that it' a viable currency in the long term.
        • Fiat currencIES maybe? Proofreading before post is a necessary skill.

        • What are you basing your "100 years" on? The US dollar went fiat curency in 1971. What fiat currencies lasted about 100 years?

        • I guess 20-30 years would be enough to prove that it' a viable currency in the long term.

          even if BTC as a currency never gets any useful due to exchange rate instabilities,
          bitcoin the protocole is already extremely useful.
          (absence of a central authority being instead distributed across the whole network, and thus freedom to chose any provider for both ends (customer and merchant) of a transaction - both don't need to have accounts at PayPal, or at the Visa / MasterCard duopoly, etc.)

          • I guess 20-30 years would be enough to prove that it' a viable currency in the long term.

            even if BTC as a currency never gets any useful due to exchange rate instabilities, bitcoin the protocole is already extremely useful. (absence of a central authority being instead distributed across the whole network, and thus freedom to chose any provider for both ends (customer and merchant) of a transaction - both don't need to have accounts at PayPal, or at the Visa / MasterCard duopoly, etc.)

            Exactly. Currency, to be viable, must be a reliable store of value. Large swings in value negate that, even as it makes it a useful speculative investment. The protocol is useful for what it provides, but that can be replicated by any number of currencies should someone want to so do. As long as there is a way to immediately convert BitCoin to real money you'll be able to buy things with it; if only because all it is acting as is an intermediary to facilitate the transaction and thus unlikely to see any si

      • Bean?

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

      He was just one guy. Wait until there are a million zombie PCs doing the same thing for a week. Lets see how well the blockchain copes then.

  • So the guy runs some stress testing tool against bitcoin machines/network and that makes him a hacker? That's quite a hyperbole.

  • It is important that transactions not go through any kind of centralized system, but this sort of attack shows that you can't simply make the entire network a virtual centralized system. We need a replacement system that eliminates the need for a single physical or virtual store.

    • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday October 08, 2015 @06:56PM (#50689987)

      Why? You realize this sort of attack was entirely expected, and that the system is engineered to withstand it, and did, trivially?

      • You realize this sort of attack was entirely expected, and that the system is engineered to withstand it, and did, trivially?

        Expected, yes. Engineered to withstand - no. Bitcoin Core nodes accept as many transactions as they can with no memory limit until eventually they bloat up so much the operating system kills them. The official "solution" for this is to babysit your node and if you see it running out of memory, change a command line flag to make it ignore any transactions with lower than the given fee

  • It's a "commodity", at least per the IRS and CFTC. Not that it matters for this instance...CNBC [cnbc.com] talks about the recent rule changes. I'm wondering if his attack could be considered something serious now, at least legally. If it can be proven he caused real monetary damages...

    Of course he's Russian, so it doesn't really matter. At least it doesn't matter until he manages to screw up some buddy's of Putin, and then "legal repercussions" will be the least of his worries.
    • bitcoin is also a network protocol (designed to shift around values using blockchain technology).

      TFA's attacks are mainly attacks on the protocol. (i.e.: he didn't try to steal BTCs currency/commodity, he tried to wreak havoc the blockchain. The bitcoin network handled that quite well).

  • by samantha ( 68231 ) * on Friday October 09, 2015 @03:52AM (#50691683) Homepage

    Bitcoin is designed to make it very difficult to successfully get fake transactions into the accepted blockchain except on a very short and soon corrected basis - even if you had huge amounts of hashing power which this individual did not. An entire week of lame attempts? Boring.

    • Bitcoin is designed to make it very difficult to successfully get fake transactions into the accepted blockchain except on a very short and soon corrected basis - even if you had huge amounts of hashing power which this individual did not. An entire week of lame attempts? Boring.

      Which is exycatly why bitcoin, the piece of software and its protocol, together with the underlying blockchain technology, are very useful *as of today*, despite the fact that BTC currency seems to have a complete random value.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Alister Maclin"? I love his books! "The Gums of Navarone", "Ice Station Zorba" and who can forget "Where Beagles Dare"?

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (8) I'm on the committee and I *still* don't know what the hell #pragma is for.

Working...