Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Network Hijacker Steals $83,000 In Bitcoin

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the rerouting-the-internet-for-fun-and-profit dept.

Bitcoin 101

An anonymous reader writes with news that bogus BGP announcements can be used to hijack work done by cryptocurrency mining pools. Quoting El Reg: Researchers at Dell's SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) have identified an exploit that can be used to steal cryptocurrency from mining pools — and they claim that at least one unknown miscreant has already used the technique to pilfer tens of thousands of dollars in digital cash. The heist was achieved by using bogus Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) broadcasts to hijack networks belonging to multiple large hosting companies, including Amazon, Digital Ocean, and OVH, among others. After sending the fake BGP updates miners unknowingly contributed work to the attackers' pools.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This is hilarious (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47629807)

It has to be said.
And is this even illegal?
I doubt it.

This is *NOT* hilarious ! (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 3 months ago | (#47630253)

The use of bogus BGP to treat networks into believing that it is connecting to a legitimate network instead of having its own network stream being hijacked can be used for much more than mere Bitcoin snatching

It can also be used to "branch out" legitimate net traffic to some listening posts (something NSA and all other spy agencies like to do) and thus, further compromise the legitimacy of the network itself - and the loss of privacy / data / whatever that the data stream happen to contain

This is a serious threat !

Re:This is *NOT* hilarious ! (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 3 months ago | (#47630665)

There is insurance for computer breach/financial loss due to hacking... wonder if miners should invest in such and also if such insurance is actually available for miners.

Re:This is *NOT* hilarious ! (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 3 months ago | (#47634809)

They could also just make the mining pool protocol use TLS.

This is hilarious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630733)

I don't know, is stealing property illegal?
IRS deemed it "property" and wishes to tax us on it .. so I am guessing the legal system has to back that up.

Re:This is hilarious (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47631831)

Computer fraud and abuse act makes anything a federal judge doesn't like a crime in retrospect. Because it was passed years ago, the fuckwits have declared it not to be an after the fact law (whatever the fucking latin for that is).

My lifes dream is to invent a new crime, and these fuckwits basically ruined it.

Re:This is hilarious (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 3 months ago | (#47637059)

What you are looking for is ex post facto but that isn't the case against the Computer fraud and abuse act. What that means is you can't do something which is perfectly legal, congress decide they don't like it, quickly pass a law against it and than prosecute you for what you did before the law was written.

The problems with the CFNA are that it is,
1. Vague - a law that is so broad a prosecutor can apply it to basically anything is unconstitutional, or void for vagueness.

2. Its cruel and unusual in that the sentences is prescribes are often far more severe than many violent crimes. When altering the query string in your URL bar can get your more years than rape something is terribly terribly wrong.

Re:This is hilarious (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47640275)

Fucking latin. No fond memories of that wasted time. Damn jebbies.

Keep Them Offline! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47629815)

Good thing I keep my miner offline. Anyone who connects their mining rig to the Internet deserves everything they get.

Re:Keep Them Offline! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631307)

You deserve to have my fetid cock crammed so far up your Bayer Aspirin hole that it punctures your rectum and squeezes into your own cock while pushing the internal tissues out your pee hole. Then I shall ask you to clamp off your pee hole at the end, so that when I retract my fetid cock it creates a vacuum resulting in a squeezing suction.

What say you?

Where is the validation? (4, Informative)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 3 months ago | (#47629821)

Apparently he was able to spoof some control messages to the miners since their only validation was IP address. It is an interesting question: since they should have known about this BGP vulnerability which has been used before, why didn't their minerserver communication have stronger validation? The answer would be, I think, that they didn't bother since it happens so rarely. Probably from now on they will start using another layer of validation. Yet another example of how security happens in the real world: it doesn't get used until the pain gets bad enough.

Re:Where is the validation? (2, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | about 3 months ago | (#47629955)

Really, this sounds like the miner's fault for not realizing it earlier. My pools have an app that updates me in realtime what they see as my balance and my hash rate. If you've been re-directed to an invalid pool, you'd think your hash rate and earnings would drop to 0 over time and you'd pick up on that and try to correct the issue. I would probably notice within 15 minutes if this happened.

Re:Where is the validation? (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 3 months ago | (#47630009)

I got the impression from the article that a lot of miners do the same thing. Maybe this miscreant targeted miners that he knew or guessed were slack in that regard. Or maybe just got lucky.

Re:Where is the validation? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630267)

Really, this sounds like the miner's fault for not realizing it earlier. .

Erm, no.

When somebody impersonates an authority figure so they can steal things, it's the fault of the robber, for stealing shit, not the fault of the person for not checking their ID.

Re:Where is the validation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630683)

but the bitcoin... she was dressed so slutty

Re:Where is the validation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630925)

Really, this sounds like the miner's fault for not realizing it earlier. .

Erm, no.

When somebody impersonates an authority figure so they can steal things, it's the fault of the robber, for stealing shit, not the fault of the person for not checking their ID.

You sound like the sort of idiot that would use ROT13, and then bitch when someone breaks your encryption.

Re:Where is the validation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631343)

That's why you use ROT13 twice. Get a brain, moran.

Re: Where is the validation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47632177)

I feel like everyone is treating this differently because it's about bit coin.

Re:Where is the validation? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47630325)

Are hash rates something varies enough for the realtime updates to be worth paying attention to?

I had been given the impression that each hashing operation was either of identical computational cost or close enough that a reasonably representative GH/s rate could be established quickly. Is there mining hardware/software with meaningful variation between 'working' and 'offline'?

Re:Where is the validation? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47630383)

In general, no. It might give you an indication that you have had a partial hardware failure or something is overheating, but for the most part it is just a 'this is nifty' thing.

Re:Where is the validation? (1)

ChumpusRex2003 (726306) | about 3 months ago | (#47633545)

The mining hardware/software will report a realtime hash rate, based upon the operation of the hardware/software.

However, the process of mining is a stochastic random process. Essentially, the job of a miner is to find a partial "hash collision" - essentially, the miner hashes the transaction data and a random nonce, and aims to find a hash as close to 000000000....00 as possible. The bitcoin/alternative network agrees a priori, what threshold counts as a "hit". The miner essentially tries random nonces, until it either gets a hit, or is told that its transaction data is stale, and needs to be refreshed.

Because, in the case of bitcoin, the network sets the target such that on average 1 "hit" is found every 10 minutes worldwide. This means that an individual miner might have to run for weeks or months to get a win and be awarded the (currently) 25 BTC reward for successfully computing a hash below target. In practice, therefore most miners operate on "pools", where a central server coordinates multiple diverse pieces of mining hardware operated by multiple individual operators. The pool operator when they receive a 25 BTC reward, then divides it up amongst the contributors.

The way the individual pool servers account for hash rate is to set a lower hash target, and count the number of "hits" each miner gets. E.g. if the main bitcoin network has target is Because pools can only detect hashrate by the rate at which "hits" are delivered, the reported hashrate will necessarily vary by virtue of the statistical properties of a stochastic process. The degree of variation depends upon the "difficulty" (target) set by the pool operator, the degree of "smoothing" that the pool operator applies to the displayed statistics, your hash contribution (a bigger contributor, will have a smaller coefficient of variation in their displayed hashrate, again for statistical reasons) etc.

Things are further complicated because many of the affected pools are "multi-coin" pools. The pool server automatically scans multiple cryptocoin networks, and various cryptocoin exchanges, to work out which coin is most profitable, the server will then jump between coins every few seconds or minutes as needed. For various technical reasons, different coins have different "stale" and "orphan" rates - "hits" which should have resulted in new coin creation, but where the hit was rejected (either immediately - stale) or initially accepted, then rolledback (orphan). Some of the alternative coins had rather dubious technical designs which could lead to massive reject rates, and this too could result in displayed hash rates fluctuating like mad.

The final issue is that many pools were often run by rank amateurs, and were targets for hackers/DDos like red-rags are to a bull. DDoSes, random server crashes, bandwidth exceeds, etc. were all common place, as well as various software bugs in "multi-pool" backend software would cause miners to end up disconnected from servers. Smarter miners would have typically have several pools configured on their mining hardware, so that the software could fail-over to another server. However, even that wasn't always successful. I once left my mining hardware unattended for a week, and configured it with 8 pools. When I checked the logs when I got back, there was a period of about 24 hours when the mines were idle, as all servers were off line.

Re:Where is the validation? (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 3 months ago | (#47632637)

exactly, just like you should notice someone hijacked your email server and is intercepting every second email you receive ...

Re:Where is the validation? (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 3 months ago | (#47636783)

It could also act as a man-in-the-middle where everything looks fine.

I think all it needs is a copy of the data to be able to 'steal' it.

That's okay.... (2, Insightful)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 3 months ago | (#47629827)

...Bitcoins are like money in real banks and are insured. No harm to the victim.

Oh wait....

Re:That's okay.... (4, Funny)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47630053)

Still not a problem. We have been told repeatedly that they have no intrinsic value. So the joke is on the hilacker

Re:That's okay.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630229)

Ricks reply to this should be:

"Touché!"

Re:That's okay.... (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 3 months ago | (#47630369)

Theorem: all currencies are non-fiat currencies backed by the value of the effort required to steal.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 3 months ago | (#47630605)

Spot on, you are *almost* there. They become "valid" and recognised currencies once politicians figure out out to rob^H^H^H tax them.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 months ago | (#47632079)

Anyone want to play "spot the libertarian"?

Re:That's okay.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630639)

Not too far off. Back by the power of the military that is controlled by the supporters of the currency.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47631709)

Not too far off. Back by the power of the military that is controlled by the supporters of the currency.

Except that there are countries with no military [wikipedia.org] that have their own currency.

Re:That's okay.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634587)

Really? This has been proven? Where can I read the paper?

Or did you mean conjecture? Fuckwit.

Re:That's okay.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630133)

I don't understand the difference? Is there a reason that insurance could not be offered on Bitcoin? Or are you simply stating that it doesn't exist today? Car insurance didn't exist at one point, so I guess Bitcoins are like cars and will never, ever have insurance.

Or are you trying to suggest that Bitcoins are unlike fiat in that when a Bitcoin is stolen, it has to be replaced at full cost by an insurance company? Yes, that is true, with Bitcoin those who are unable to properly secure their funds will not be able to cry to the government to get fresh currency printed thus passing the cost onto all using the currency rather than the insurance company.

Frankly, I think that's a good thing.

Re:That's okay.... (2, Informative)

cshark (673578) | about 3 months ago | (#47630215)

If you stored Bitcoin in a bank, it would be insured, and there wouldn't be an issue. This isn't even about wallets or banks or credit. This time, it's about a bug in the protocol. Every bug discovered makes the system stronger. Sucks that miners are losing money, but the discovery is good news in the long run. Compare this with the banking system. When a bug is discovered, it takes years to get fixed, millions, sometimes billions of dollars are lost. The process is onerous and intrusive, often resulting in less privacy or harder laws that don't actually address the root cause of the problem. A problem surfaces in Bitcoin world, at worst you're going to have to wait a week before the wallets or miners are patched. What was that you were saying about harm again?

Re:That's okay.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631185)

A problem surfaces in Bitcoin world, at worst you're going to have to wait a week before the wallets or miners are patched. What was that you were saying about harm again?

The attacker has been doing this for 4 months. And we'll see how long it takes for Bitcoin and other currencies to fix their protocols and for the new protocols to be deployed.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

cshark (673578) | about 3 months ago | (#47632013)

And it's just now that they've caught it?

Re:That's okay.... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 months ago | (#47630311)

That "Insurance" is money that is taken from me by force. To be paid out to people who can not be bothered to check the safety of the bank they put all their money in.

FDIC should be banned.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630461)

And just how do you check the security of a bank?

Walk in the door and demand a code audit before depositing your money?

Grow up, the real world doesn't work the way Ayn Rand's John Galt fantasy world does.

Re:That's okay.... (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 months ago | (#47630933)

There is a reason for that. People do not care about the security of the bank they have their money in. If there was no FDIC some smart person would start a private insurance agency and sell stickers to the banks that tell customers they are protected. A private company would have CPAs checking shit out like hawks. As a payout hurts corporate profits. Instead of what we have which is the banks are being watched by people with zero skin in the game.

The can not be fired. They will not be prosecuted. They will get their bonuses. It will only cost the tax payers.

FDIC is SHIT.

Re:That's okay.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631473)

did you get fired from the FDIC?

Re:That's okay.... (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47631771)

If there was no FDIC some smart person would start a private insurance agency and sell stickers to the banks that tell customers they are protected.

Except that, until 1933, there was no FDIC, and your scenario didn't happen. Instead, we had bank runs.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 months ago | (#47633553)

Bank runs are fine. If you want to gamble with your money then you should be prepared to lose it.

My tax money should not be spent allowing you to go through life oblivious and insured from the risks you take.

Although I am sure that you will attempt to continue to believe that is exactly what I should be forced to spend my money on.

Re:That's okay.... (4, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 3 months ago | (#47635391)

My tax money

Tax money is not yours, it's a payment for partaking in civilization which, after all, requires a lot of human effort to upkeep.

I think this is the problem with most libertarians: you've been surrounded by the invisible support systems of society all your life, so you mistake them for something that occurs naturally, like sunlight. Thus when you're required to pull your weight and help maintain these systems, you see this as an egregious violation of your property rights, completely oblivious to the fact that property is an artificial construct built and maintained by them in the first place. And everyone else, of course, sees a freeloader who's arrogant enough to be insulted by the very idea of having to chip in.

The world does not owe you unpaid servitude. You will never get things like property rights or a monetary system without having to pay for them. Nor can you pay only for things that directly benefit you, because that leads to a tragedy of the commons where everyone argues why someone else should pay for every single system and the end result is that no one pays for anything, and society collapses.

I doubt that you'll stop playing a victim because you've been told polish some of the tiles on the streets of gold you walk on every now and then, but this is why you aren't being taken seriously outside the lunatic fringe.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 3 months ago | (#47632003)

The bond rating agencies could do it...wait.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 months ago | (#47633561)

These things never work when there is a big entity with unlimited "Other peoples funds" watching over the system.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

jythie (914043) | about 3 months ago | (#47630397)

In this case it would not help. The attack essentially collected work but did not issue payment, and banks will generally not get involved with that kind of dispute.

Re:That's okay.... (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 3 months ago | (#47632881)

Just like the cash you keep on hand ... Oh wait...

So? (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47629831)

It's a blockchain. It's know what portions were stolen. Send a message out to all people involved in this scheme to not accept them.
Oh right - that would undermine the illusion of "freedom".

At least this weeks compulsory Bitcoin story is sort of amusing.

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630339)

The bitcoins weren't really "stolen". It was more like building an exact replica of a diamond mine, and having the bus driver bring miners to your replica mine instead of the real mine. The replica is so good that the miners work for you without knowing it. Only when they see a paycheck of $0.00 from their employer do they understand that someone's been tricking them.

Re:So? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 3 months ago | (#47630615)

Even then, they just assume the mine is owned by McDonalds.

Re:So? (1)

pantaril (1624521) | about 3 months ago | (#47630681)

It's a blockchain. It's know what portions were stolen. Send a message out to all people involved in this scheme to not accept them.
Oh right - that would undermine the illusion of "freedom".

Please try to send the message and let us know how it worked. I think that you'll discover that your "illusion of freedom" is very far from actual reality.

That's the thing with illusions (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47636193)

That's the thing with illusions isn't it? They are not real.

People like you encourage bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631625)

Stolen coins are sold or mixed immediately, so the criminals would keep their money while innocent people holding coins at the time of revocation would get burned. All you'd accomplish is screwing over normal people to bail out some big mining pool. It's one-line feel-good measures like this that are destroying the mainstream economy, so I'm glad the burden is on you to convince all users - not just the ones on top - to adopt this change.

How many years has bitcoin been amusing you?

Re:People like you encourage bitcoin (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47635671)

It's been amusing me ever since the pyramid scheme started by a mysterious recluse emerged. It's astonishing how many have taken the bait and hope to cash out before the early adopters take all value there is and it crumbles. I try to warn people but I just get a response of a lot of bleating from lambs that are happy to be slaughtered.

All you'd accomplish is screwing over normal people

In case you haven't noticed yet that is what Bitcoin is FOR.

Re:People like you encourage bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47648267)

You've known about it since 2009? I'm glad you didn't get scammed out of the $50 you would have lost on 5000 BTC.

Stay strong and keep it up!

ISP Failure, not Application Failure (4, Insightful)

Geekenstein (199041) | about 3 months ago | (#47629851)

This trick is as old as it gets. BGP will accept a more specific route as superior to a more general route, and there is no authentication in the exchange. The flaw here is the upstream providers involved did not properly filter the routing announcements allowed from this attacker, and instead let them announce net blocks that were not their own, then intercept the traffic to those net blocks.

In other words, nothing to see here, move along.

Re:ISP Failure, not Application Failure (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 3 months ago | (#47630261)

Still a problem. You can't control all ISPs. I don't know enough about the protocol but I figure extra simple measures will be put in place to avoid further loses.

Re:ISP Failure, not Application Failure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631379)

The *real* problem is that BGP is insecure by design and is known to be so for a long time without any fix available. If the Net ever breaks (in a large region), then it will be most likely due to BGP, be that by an intentional attack (e.g. "cyber-warfare") or by misconfiguration.

Re:ISP Failure, not Application Failure (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47635255)

Not at all. The flaw is in the lack of validation. I should not blindly trust that when I send something it will get to the right person.

How did people not notice this early? (2)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 3 months ago | (#47629855)

From what the article says, this hijack went on for months without anyone noticing, and only came to attention because one guy happened to notice that his mining client was connecting to the hijacker's pool server. The first person to notice it did so on March 22nd, when the hack had been running since at least early February. My question is, why didn't people notice their profits vanishing in the month before the first person reported it?

Re:How did people not notice this early? (3, Informative)

grnbrg (140964) | about 3 months ago | (#47630721)

I got hit April 25th with this. I noticed within an hour, and it took me about an hour to determine that my connection to the pool had been spoofed, and my miners redirected to the attackers pool. I had no idea at the time *how* it was done.

My mining software was a couple of months old at the time, and the latest version would ignore such redirect requests. I updated and continued on, having lost maybe 2 hours of mining.

The redirect comes from that fact that the "Stratum" protocol used by many minors to request work from the pools was originally designed as a wallet to blockchain server protocol. Under that use case, it makes sense that the server might suggest to a (wallet) client that they use another server.

Re:How did people not notice this early? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630863)

My question is, why didn't people notice their profits vanishing in the month before the first person reported it?

The redirect comes from that fact that the "Stratum" protocol used by many minors to request work from the pools was originally designed as a wallet to blockchain server protocol.

Sounds like the answer to the question is: Minor Miners.

Re:How did people not notice this early? (1)

grnbrg (140964) | about 3 months ago | (#47630907)

Yeah, I saw that 30 seconds *after* hitting the submit button. :facepalm:

Re:How did people not notice this early? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631719)

You may be the only guy left keeping a sharp eye on his minor.

Only $83,000? (2)

scuzzlebutt (517123) | about 3 months ago | (#47629881)

Piker. Should have applied himself.

Re:Only $83,000? (1)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 3 months ago | (#47629927)

But seriously though. Is the risk worth the reward? $83k is a pretty average annual salary, some would say. Is that really worth going to jail for the rest of your life (if they get caught)?

Re:Only $83,000? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630175)

A) They're almost certainly not in the US, and may be in a country that doesn't even classify this as a crime
B) Even in the US, this would definitely not result in life in prison, or even close to it, unless it was committed by an elderly person
C) People risk life in jail for a hell of a lot less than $83K (which is incidentally about double the median household income in the US, definitely not "average") on a daily basis. See convenience store armed robberies for a few hundred dollars. As a general rule, most criminals don't really think about the consequences of their actions, that is why they are criminals.

Re:Only $83,000? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630281)

You missed the most important one (and it's a pretty common miss, so don't worry about it):

D) He doesn't think he'd get caught.

There's almost zero crimes that remain profitable after being caught, therefore almost all criminals are certain they won't be caught (there's a small number of crimes that could be profitable if you're caught, and there's a larger, yet still small number of folks who use the prison system for structure, 3 hots, and a cot--but they choose something simpler than stealing Bitcoins).

This, by the way, is why the death penalty doesn't deter murder.

Re:Only $83,000? (1)

charlesnw (843045) | about 3 months ago | (#47630745)

It's average for engineers with the skillset/patience and detail oriented mindset to pull something like this off.

Sigh (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | about 3 months ago | (#47629883)

I've been pointing out the risks of router poisoning for, what, 17 years now.

Ever since the NSA started demonstrating router poisoning, it was only a matter of time before even the script kiddies figured it out.

I've been pointing out that the current rash of cryptocurrencies have excessive reliance on trust for the past year.

This sort of attack was inevitable. Bitcoin can plead semi-innocence because strong authentication is counter to strong anonymity. However, no router on the Internet should accept rogue announcements - even from three letter agencies - or accept unauthorized changes to the running configuration or active router tables.

MITM attacks are exceptionally dangerous and the hazards can only get worse.

Re:Sigh (1)

mpe (36238) | about 3 months ago | (#47630189)

I've been pointing out that the current rash of cryptocurrencies have excessive reliance on trust for the past year.

Something which is rather ironic given that trust is an important issue with cryptography.

Re:Sigh (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 months ago | (#47633703)

You might want to check out NIST's page on authenticating+encrypting modes.

You might want to look at Diffe-Hellman key exchange, where nothing is provided that cannot be entrusted to a wiretapper.

You might want to look at the Byzantine class of problems and their use in encryption.

You might want to look at the reasons for and against random oracles.

I see very, very little in cryptography that has to do with trust. Almost everything is dedicated to assuming that nothing can be trusted. People are encouraged to compress data before encrypting it because even the maths isn't trusted.

Re:Sigh (1)

KramberryKoncerto (2552046) | about 3 months ago | (#47634591)

A lot of the strength in cryptography is lost in areas that depend on trust. Like trusting that the vendor doesn't put a backdoor in your system, or trusting your OS doesn't break your firewall, or that any third-party CA's are actually trustworthy, or there isn't a weird compiler bug that kills your entire encryption system. These things may be tested against and prevented one-by-one, but they are overhead, which makes the notion of security a matter of risk management. Cryptography tries hard to reduce the reliance on trust, but it's always a big issue.

More of a theoretician, I was once lectured by a competent software engineer that in security the devil is in the details, where any system has to stand the test of time and often goes through many fixes to be just usable. Theoretical security guarantees are much stronger what is often realized in practical security systems, because implementation details fall through cracks that are covered up by theoretical abstractions that breed high-level cryptography.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630333)

Ok, I've been pointing out the dangers of swimming after eating a full meal. Just as applicable as yours when it comes to BGP hijacking.

Re:Sigh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631465)

It's you again! Have you given any thought to my offer? What say you?

What SAY YOU????!!!!

And nothing of value was lost (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47629899)

Somebody stole me kibbles and bits!

-- A Lying Imp

So really bitcoin is incidental (4, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | about 3 months ago | (#47629901)

So what we have here are two problems.

One lack of authentication for the miners with the pools. Something a few SSL on the servers and wrapping those sockets calls with openSSL would make the route hijacking ineffective for stealing mining resources.

So there is a lesson in this whatever it is you are doing on the internet if you care AT ALL about it you should be using SSL and checking certs, (Looking at your slashdot) sure there are tons of problems as weaknesses in SSL but until something better comes along its beats the hell out of clear text with no authentication what so ever.

Two BGP needs to be replaced or updated to support much stronger authentication and the network operators need to just push getting it done, even if it means telling customers we can't / won't peer with you and neither will anyone else unless you get you routers and or software update to do this. If they stick together in it there should be no trouble getting that done.

Stealing some computer cycles used to generate bit coins is probably among the least real harm someone with access to advertise bogus routes in BGP could do; and lots of people are in a position to do that. We should be thankful its only a little money these guys were making off with. The Internet has gotten to big for the network operators to just relay on everyone playing nice and being good citizens, We need some stronger technical controls put in place and regular auditing beyound well nobody has complained on NANOG.

Re:So really bitcoin is incidental (1)

thoromyr (673646) | about 3 months ago | (#47632695)

Pre-Snowden there was a huge BGP attack that re-routed lots of traffic, so much so that it was hard to tell who was targeted (instead of small things like this, think more like "all western Chinese traffic routed through US"). At the time there was lots of useless conjecture as to what it was about and whether or not it was really an attack or just a seriously stupid misconfiguration. Of course, nowadays we know that TLAs use this as one of their tools to grab target traffic that would otherwise be out of reach so that they can inspect it and record it.

BGP is a seriously large, gaping security vulnerability in how the Internet works due to the inherent trust of the system. The only plus side is the wider you cast the net the more obvious it becomes that it has been cast. The attack I refer to was glaringly obvious due to the huge distortion to routing. So for someone to use it for evil they need to keep it small and focused which means they need to get close to the target network. The point being that there *is* a measure of tamper evidence that gets stronger the farther the attacker has to reach. At least its something.

Bah ... (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47629967)

You say unknown miscreant.

On Wall Street they're simply called "staff".

Frankly, I see little difference between stealing BitCoins from a mining pool and High Frequency Trading. And that's perfectly legal.

Re:Bah ... (1, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 3 months ago | (#47630145)

Frankly, I see little difference between stealing BitCoins from a mining pool and High Frequency Trading. And that's perfectly legal.

The official stock market justification for HFT is that it provides "liquidity" (that's the actual word they use) to the market. Translated into human-speak, that means that the trading companies get transaction fees for every transaction under HFT and that money is very important to them. Of course the traders don't pay the kind of fees that us normal people pay. They get volume discounts. But the justification is that somehow the HFT fees that get paid benefit all of us by allowing them to lower the fees that we normal people pay for our rare transactions.

After reading the book Fortune's Formula by William Poundstone, I've come to the conclusion that the stock market will always be gamed by those with money and if HFT were banned, they'd just find something to exploit, maybe even worse. I do admit to being amused by this thread because I thought that the advocates were swearing that BitCoin stealing was impossible - too many safeguards you know.

Re:Bah ... (1, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47630153)

After reading the book Fortune's Formula by William Poundstone, I've come to the conclusion that the stock market will always be gamed by those with money and if HFT were banned, they'd just find something to exploit, maybe even worse.

Welcome to capitalism, where gaming the system for profit is a moral imperative.

Re:Bah ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630359)

That is called corruption, not capitalism.

Re:Bah ... (2)

disposable60 (735022) | about 3 months ago | (#47630817)

Tomayto, tomahto.

The Capitalist applies capital to the highly profitable enterprise of getting legislation bent to his favor and prosecution bent to disfavor his competitors. How SCOTUS doesn't think that's corruption boggles what's left of my mind.

Re:Bah ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#47630851)

That is called corruption, not capitalism.

No, it's pretty much inherent.

The people who make the assumption that people aren't inherently corrupt and won't game the system are either stupid, or lying to you.

In its modern form, the corruption is built right in.

Re:Bah ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631565)

No, liquidity means you have a 1 cent spread between bid and ask instead of a 10 dollar spread. You'd be bitching about the spreads and how the brokers are profiting off the spreads by using their extra money to clear order books and manipulate demand/supply if you didn't have the HFT to bitch about.

And then you bitch about commissions. Go trade the forex markets. There are no commissions with most brokers. But guess what: They make their money off the spread they offer you (made possible because forex is an OTC market). Don't like it? Go make deals with international banks to get better spreads. Your bitching and moaning about HFT is just you being a "me too" bitch and complaining because you don't have enough starting capital to have access to volume discounts and preferred order filling. The only thing stopping you from having those things is your own lack of capital.

You know, running exchanges and maintaining the infrastructure costs money.

Fucking naive faggot.

PS: And since you seem to fancy yourself an investor, hear this: You broker buys popular stocks (especially popular IPOs) in bulk, with volume discounts. You know why? So that you and thousands of other peon retail investor clients of theirs can buy the facebook IPO at the open. You take for granted that your order gets filled while pissing and moaning about the very system that enables this. You ever short-sell stocks? Where do you think you borrow the shares from? Your broker. How? Because they bought a bunch of shares. In bulk. With volume discounts. So you can play day-trading-casino-man in your mom's basement. The system is the way it is because it works. And it's what the population at large wants.

Re:Bah ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631683)

advocates were swearing that BitCoin stealing was impossible - too many safeguards you know

I know this site allows really dumb anonymous comments like mine... but WHO would SAY that? Bitcoins get stolen _all_the_time_. One virus and POOF they're gone!

Re:Bah ... (1)

thoromyr (673646) | about 3 months ago | (#47632727)

well, maybe not *this* anonymous coward, but just look at this thread and you'll read plenty of comments saying "well, anyone who lost money was an idiot because ." So, either you aren't reading slashdot or...

dang, I just replied to an AC

Re:Bah ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47648155)

Well I agree that you have to do something stupid to lose them, but that's a far cry from "stealing is impossible".

Re:Bah ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47630183)

Frankly, I see little difference between stealing BitCoins from a mining pool and High Frequency Trading.

Well, High Frequency Trading takes advantage of disconnects between when someone is trying to sell and someone else is trying to buy. The impatient sellers reduce the prices that they will accept (because they want to sell now) to the point that it is below market value. So the HF trader purchases the commodity and holds it until a buyer appears and then resells it. If no one ever shows up that will pay a high enough price to cover the price they paid plus transaction fees, the HF traders lose money.

This is a wholly optional transaction. The sellers could keep prices high and wait for an appropriate buyer. If they did, they'd close out the HF traders. They choose to take the lower price now rather than the potentially higher price later. Buyers are apparently willing to pay the higher price -- if they weren't, the HF traders would go out of business. No one is forced to do anything.

Stealing (BitCoins or whatever) involves one person taking something without permission from another person. Only the thief has chosen to participate in the transaction.

Other than the fact that both involve people making money, I don't see much to link them.

Re:Bah ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47631103)

They do not hold any stock. They purchase and sell it at the same time. They take advatange that the price fluctuates, and they have a faster ping time than everyone else.

Does BitCoin need a way to void coins? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 3 months ago | (#47630803)

Bitcoin transactions are already traceable in the blockchain. The information is already there to declare that a given transaction is "null and void" and identify all bitcoins that were affected by that transaction and void them or if they have been co-mingled with valid coins and re-issued, declare all of the progeny of that mixing as having a total value equal to the non-tainted transactions, i.e. these coins would have a "lesser value" than a regular coin.

The problems are not purely technical - they are social and managerial:

The social problem is this:
* Would we rather have a system where crooks can get away with stealing and washing funds and take the risk that OUR funds may be stolen (the current system),
or,
* Would we rather have a system where crooks and those who deal with "shady characters" know they might wind up with worthless coin, thereby disincentivizing this kind of activity, at the cost that anybody at any time may wind up having their coinage de-valued or voided because it was found to be stolen in a transaction days, months, or years ago?

The managerial problem is this:
* Do we want to have a system in which "the community" endorses a coin's devaluation or voiding, and if so, how would that decision be made?
* Do we want a system in which individuals decide for themselves if they want to accept "dirty money" and merely provide them with a means to determine if a given BC is tainted or not?

The latter option is something that anyone can do for themselves today at least in principle:

I can decide that I refuse to accept any BC if it has a certain known-evil transaction in its blockchain history. Yes, this will require me to do a lot of work before accepting any transaction, but in principle, I could do it. If a lot of heavy hitters started doing this - or if major countries started requiring businesses in their country to check coins against a government-run blacklist before accepting them - then this will become a reality even if the majority of the BC community doesn't support the idea.

I guess the questions are:

* Does the community want to "head off" the "individual choice"/"nationally mandated choice" option by doing the work needed to have a community-managed coin-invalidation system?
* Does the community want to maintain the status quo, knowing that the "individual choice"/"nationally mandated choice" option is likely in the future?
* Does the community want to take technical and other measures to make any kind of coin-invalidation system so impractical that it won't be done in the foreseeable future or at least take measure to make it infeasible to invalidate coins that have been through more than a few transactions and/or who have been reported as stolen more than a few hours ago?

Re:Does BitCoin need a way to void coins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634063)

If you want safe money, stick to the currencies that are backed by state force.

Bitcoin's strength is that it doesn't care about fools being parted from their money. Attacks are a necessity on the path to robustness.

So to answer the question: No. And fuck you and your nanny ideas.

Re:Does BitCoin need a way to void coins? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 3 months ago | (#47634343)

If you want safe money, stick to the currencies that are backed by state force.

What's the point of having money if it's not safe, at least from the time you take possession of it until the time you spend it?

Re:Does BitCoin need a way to void coins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47635495)

Skip a tax payment or child support payment and see how safe your dollars are. They won't just take what they're owed, they won't even just take what they're owed plus some penalty. They'll take you for all you have.

Re:Does BitCoin need a way to void coins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47636187)

Ofcourse they will (in some hyperbolic world) but they have the right to do so. dont get yourself into debts that you dont pay and then complain when the people you owe want restitution. you think your bitcoins will be safe in that situation? the second you claim they have value they will be fair game too.

Re:Does BitCoin need a way to void coins? (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 3 months ago | (#47635529)

I can decide that I refuse to accept any BC if it has a certain known-evil transaction in its blockchain history. Yes, this will require me to do a lot of work before accepting any transaction, but in principle, I could do it.

No, you couldn't, because a transaction can and often does have multiple inputs from different past transactions and multiple outputs into future ones. Your "evil" transaction will eventually be in the history of most if not all of the unspent outputs.

Bitcoins don't have identity. A Bitcoin is a unit of magnitude for use in accounting, not a dollar bill with a serial number.

miscreant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47632321)

Miscreant. Had to look up pronunciation. Learned a new work! Thanks, Slashdot!

Re:miscreant? (1)

scuzzlebutt (517123) | about 3 months ago | (#47632455)

You work as a miscreant now? Interesting. Does it pay well?

So what. (1)

Drunkulus (920976) | about 3 months ago | (#47633565)

That's nothing. I have $10,000,000 in Monopoly money.

Re:So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47634691)

I'll trade you for 1 million theoretical dollars, guy.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?