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BSV Network Attacked: CoinGeek Explains What Happened

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Jul/15/2021

The BSV Network has come under attack in recent weeks, more specifically June 24, 2021 and then again on July 1, 6 and 9.  This is likely to become a trend targetting all blockchain networks and crypto sites.  Coingeek explains what is transpiring here below.

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What is Going On?

  • On the dates in question, an unknown miner by the name of 'Zulupool’ engaged in malicious block re-organisation attacks on the Bitcoin SV (BSV) network.
  • This type of attack is known as a ‘block withholding’ attack and nvolves a malicious actor creating a chain of competing
    blocks.
  • It is re-written to benefit the individual or organization conducting the attack and typically contains double spends – in parallel with the correct chain.
  • These malicious blocks are created in secret then released all at once to orphan the correct blocks from honest nodes.
  • The BSV Network admits they were not aware just how bad the attack would be in the initial days.

CoinGeek.com noted as part of a press release sent out Thursday morning:

"Block reorganisations are a feature of the Bitcoin system when they occur organically and are used to align participants and nodes on the network; therefore, not all block re-organisations should be treated as problematic and analysis must be done to assess the nature of each situation."

Has This Been Resolved?

  • Protective measures have been implemented for the BSV network and there have been no further attacks since then.
  • The last attack was on July 9, however, the Bitcoin Association and the Bitcoin SV Infrastructure Team continue to treat this as an active situation, and we have a global team closely monitoring the network at all hours.

Why would a malicious party attack the BSV blockchain in this way?

There are several reasons why a malicious party may attempt to attack the BSV blockchain (or any blockchain for that matter) in such a fashion. At this stage, however, in the absence of further information, we cannot conclusively determine the motives of the attacker.

Possible motives are:

  • – The most obvious reason to attempt a block withholding or re-organisation attack would be as part of an effort to double-spend and defraud – that is, spend the same BSV tokens several times by manipulating the records of the blockchain. When these types of attacks occur, it is generally exchanges – which tend to hold significant token liquidity – that are targeted. However, it is important to note that to date, neither Bitcoin Association, nor the Bitcoin SV Infrastructure Team, nor any exchanges with whom we are in contact, have received any reports of anyone claiming to be a victim of a double spend.
  • – Given that the Bitcoin ABC (BCHA) chain experienced a re-organisation incident with similar characteristics just a few months ago, it is possible that this is a coordinated campaign against competing implementations and chains of Bitcoin. While no direct losses or thefts have yet been attributed to the attack on the BSV blockchain, the response by exchanges to restrict BSV deposit and withdrawals and/or trading activities and the attending reputational harm caused by the attacks could indicate that the detrimental intangible impact was the primary goal, not a secondary repercussion.
  • – Another possibility is that the malicious actor is undertaking these block re-organisations to move coins around in an effort to obfuscate the history of certain coins and make them harder to track. If this is what is motivating the attacks, however, it has been entirely unsuccessful, as the heightened awareness and forensic tools being used to track and document the attacks have only served to draw attention to these transactions, in addition to providing the impetus to collect comprehensive evidence for all connected transactions.

Gambling911.com will continue to monitor the situation closely.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Founder

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