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Hacker Livestreams 51% Attack on Bitcoin Private

October 14, 2018 |

Hacker Livestreams 51% Attack on Bitcoin Private

On Oct. 13, ethical hacker “Geocold” followed through on his promise to 51 percent attack an altcoin. He eventually settled on Bitcoin Private (BTCP), and quickly gained majority hashrate control, but the spectacle was fraught with setbacks, including censorship from two streaming services that pulled the plug.

Also read: Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack

Censorship, Denial of Service and Revenge Attacks – and That Was Just for Starters

Geocold promised he would 51 percent attack an altcoin to prove how easy it was, and he did, but the attempt did not run as smoothly as he might have hoped. Over 750 viewers were tuned in, and the likes of Jackson Palmer live-tweeting the spectacle, when Twitch suddenly pulled the plug. Cam-whores and other performance artists can broadcast their ‘art’ to the masses, it would appear, but 51-percenting altcoins is a step too far.

Hacker Livestreams 51% Attack on Bitcoin Private
Geocold shows off his BTCP hashpower

One of the unexpected lessons derived from Geocold’s session was on the dangers of censorship on an internet when a ‘Report’ button is never more than a few pixels away. Despite the ethical hacker having no intention of attempting to double spend coins, such as by depositing them into an exchange wallet and swapping them for BTC, the streaming provider pulled the plug, presumably in response to members of the Bitcoin Private community reporting his channel. “Anyone own/work for a streaming platform and can ensure report spamming doesn’t work for my stream?” he asked Twitter. “If I find such a solution I’ll stream again. If not I might do a surprise stream. If not I’ll just post a video.”

When Geocold returned on Stream.me half an hour later, he lasted a little over 15 minutes before the same thing happened. Thankfully, by this time he had done enough to demonstrate his attack in action. When the second stream died, Geocold had majority hashrate and was merrily mining BTCP blocks.

Hacker Livestreams 51% Attack on Bitcoin Private
Geocold, shortly before Twitch banned him

A Mischief-Maker on a Mission

Geocold, who incorporated the “mischief-maker” epithet into his Twitter name in response to last week’s post from news.Bitcoin.com, had intended to 51 percent attack Einsteinium (EMC2). When the time came to perform the feat on Saturday, Oct. 13, however, he discovered that its hashrate had soared 15-fold to 1.4 TH/s. Given a week’s notice, the EMC2 community had thwarted the attack by acquiring huge amounts of hashpower. Geocold had anticipated this, and swiftly moved on to one of the alternative alts he had lined up as part of his contingency plan.

Hacker Livestreams 51% Attack on Bitcoin Private
Einsteinium‘s hashrate had soared in advance of the attack

Bitcoin Private was selected and the benign hacker connected to a BTCP mining pool, using a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of rented hashpower he’d purchased from Nicehash with BTC. Shortly after finding his first block, however, Geocold came unstuck as members of the Bitcoin Private community fought back, possibly after he’d accidentally leaked his IP address while live-streaming. An http flood to the web UI of Geocold’s mining pool knocked him offline, prompting a reboot plus a move to a different streamer once Twitch swung the banhammer.

Hacker Livestreams 51% Attack on Bitcoin Private

At the second attempt, Geocold dominated BTCP’s hashrate, producing a steady 10 MSol/s versus the rest of the network’s 6 MSol/s. He soon began to create the longest chain of blocks, and, had he persisted, could have forked the BTCP chain. In the event, the second stream died, and Geocold elected to wind things down and save some tricks for next time. The evening started as an exercise on the ease of controlling low hashrate PoW coins and ended as a demonstration of the need for censorship-resistant platforms.

Do you think 51 percent attacking altcoins is a good spectator sport? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitch, Coinwarz.com, and Twitter.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Hacker Livestreams 51% Attack on Bitcoin Private appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack

October 9, 2018 |

Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack

“On Oct 13, 3:00 CDT I will be doing a 51% attack against the cryptocurrency Einsteinium,” began the call-to-arms. As promises go, this one was as bold as it was brazen. The anonymous attacker has promised to assume majority hashrate control of an altcoin to demonstrate how easy the process is. As proof, they’ve not only given fair warning of the attack, but have promised to livestream the event.

Also read: You Can Now 51% Attack a Coin for as Little as $ 500

51% Attacking Altcoins Is Now a Spectator Sport

Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack51% attacks, in which a malevolent attacker gains majority control of a cryptocurrency’s hashrate, and then potentially uses this advantage to fraudulently double spend transactions, have been a recurring motif in 2018. During the course of three months, a string of altcoins were 51% attacked including bitcoin gold and verge, the latter succumbing twice. Now, another scrypt-based coin, einsteinium (EMC2), is in the spotlight after being singled out for attack.

The entity responsible, operating under the handle of “piracy1”, has disclosed extraordinarily precise details as to when and how the attack will go down. The reasons stated are to “1. Demonstrate how easy these attacks are for anyone to do. 2. Generally teach people about the nuts and bolts of these attacks and potential mitigations.” For interested parties, a livestream link has been provided, with the action scheduled for 4am EST on October 13.

Low Hashrate Altcoins Have Become a Joke

In selecting EMC2, the aspiring attacker could hardly have chosen an easier target. The altcoin is this year’s third worst performer, down 97% from its all-time high. Devalued PoW coins typically have a hashrate commensurate with their price, making them vulnerable to malicious or bored attackers. The monetary rewards to be derived from 51% attacking a coin such as einsteinium are likely to be negligible. In fact, all indications suggest that the would-be attacker has no interest in attempting to confirm double spent transactions. As a consequence, the attack is likely to cost piracy1 money in renting the necessary hashrate to complete their assault.

“I’m putting in $ 50 of my money and if you want to donate you can,” they explained. This derisory figure demonstrates the cheapness with which a low hashrate altcoin can be owned. According to crypto51.app, scrypt-based alts can be attacked for an hour using rented hashpower for as little as $ 22 in the case of florincoin. Should EMC2’s attacker make good on their promise, they won’t have proven anything that wasn’t already known: attacking low cap altcoins is easy and most Proof of Work cryptocurrencies outside of the top 10 are sitting ducks.

Would you watch a livestream of an altcoin being 51% attacked? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Shark Followed Rescuers After California Attack

September 30, 2018 |

Shocking as it was, a witness offered new details in the story of a California teen bitten by a shark that suggest the attack could have gotten worse. Per USA Today , a kayaker who helped rush the bloodied victim out of the water following Saturday’s incident in Encinitas said the…
Newser

Ford’s Classmate Backtracks After Saying Attack ‘Did Happen’

September 20, 2018 |

A former classmate of Christine Blasey Ford has changed her tune a bit after initially stating, “This incident did happen” in a Facebook post about Ford’s allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school. You can see a screenshot of Cristina King Miranda’s Wednesday post,…
Newser

Fatal Truck Accident Prompts Knife Attack

September 19, 2018 |

A vehicle vs. pedestrian accident in Watertown, Mass., left a woman dead on Wednesday. The violent aftermath of the crash left the driver of the flatbed tow truck that hit her in critical condition and another man in police custody. Authorities say that after the woman was struck, a man…
Newser

Baby Giraffe Involved in Attack on Woman, Son Dies

September 19, 2018 |

In a heartbreaking ending to an already tragic story, the 2-month-old giraffe whose mother trampled a US scientist and her 3-year-old son in South Africa earlier this month has died. Katy Williams and son Finn were near their home in Blyde Wildlife Estate when they surprised the mother and calf,…
Newser

Body of Missing Field Guide Found After Bear Attack

September 16, 2018 |

The body of a Wyoming field guide who was mauled by a bear while hunting elk has been found. Per USA Today , 37-year-old Mark Uptain and his client, Corey Chubon, shot an elk Thursday in Teton Wilderness but were initially unable to find the animal. When they returned to the…
Newser

TMZ

Swimmer Killed in Rare Cape Cod Shark Attack

September 16, 2018 |

A 26-year old man was tragically killed by what experts believe is the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts in more than 80 years. The swimmer — ID’d by authorities as Boston-area man Arthur Medici — was reportedly in the water off of Cape…

TMZ.com

Trump team’s tough talk with Syria working – for now – to stave off chemical attack on Idlib

September 14, 2018 |

The Trump administration’s words of warning against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad this week, cautioning stern consequences should he and his allies – namely Iran and Russia – forge ahead with a devastating offensive against the country’s final opposition-stronghold of Idlib is having a positive impact in halting the operation, Syrian opposition activists tell Fox News.
FOX News

Death Tolls Hits 11 in China Vehicle Attack

September 14, 2018 |

The death toll has risen to 11 with another 44 people hospitalized after a man allegedly drove an SUV deliberately into a crowd in central China before jumping out and attacking victims with a dagger and shovel, local authorities in China say The Hengyang city government says the suspect in…
Newser