The Bitcoin network allegedly suffered a DDoS (denial-of-service) attack last week, forcing the core team of the cryptocurrency to mend the reference design. There aren’t many details so far, but the information was first published by the website Coindesk, who received a message from the core developer Jeff Garzik.
The email sent by the expert only said “currently dealing with an ongoing, network-wide event”. And, since the attack, Bitcoin network has been recovering slowly, but apparently in an effective way. Last Friday (21), Garzik announced a nearby 0.8.3 release of the reference implementation. The goal was to “to fix a denial-of-service attack that affects some network nodes”. The future will bring more details about it, as promised.
These network nodes are different from miners, since the non-mining nodes don’t generate revenue. Instead, these nodes relay transactions on a voluntary basis, for the sake of the network maintenance. However, because of this important function, these nodes can be a target for those who want to damage the network.
“Operationally, network attacks are far cheaper. Any smart attacker is going to look for a cheaper way to attack Bitcoin. Network attacks are one of the big worries right now”, confirms Jeff Garzik.
This attack, besides harming the network, goes back to the original Bitcoin protocol and software, created by Satoshi Nakamoto. “Satoshi left lots of good ideas in the source code and we have to block those off. There was a feature that Satoshi added and never used, and an attacker was able to exploit that a bit”, he adds. Unfortunately, the original source code for Bitcoin has a lot of half-finished features.
However, this time, the patch solved the network vulnerability, stopping the consequences of the attack. Anyway, it’s not like the DDoS onset has made life difficult for any Bitcoin user. And this only proves the strength of the cryptocurrency.