What is a Dusting Attack?

What is a Dusting Attack?

A dusting attack is a type of hacking activity in which hackers and scammers infiltrate a user’s privacy by sending very small amounts of coins into their wallets. Attackers who combine multiple addresses to identify the person or company that owns each wallet tracked The wallet transaction activities.

What is dust?

In the language of cryptocurrencies, the term dust means a small amount of a coin or token; A tiny amount that most users do not even realize. If we want to give an example of bitcoin, the smallest unit of bitcoin is one Satoshi (0.0000000000001 BTC), so we use the term “dust” to refer to “several hundred Satoshi”!

In cryptocurrencies, the term dust also refers to the small amounts of coins that remain in user’s accounts after the execution of trading orders. The notable point is that your stock will not be tradable.
There is no formal definition for bitcoin when it comes to bitcoin because each software (or client) may have a different quorum. Bitcoin Core defines dust as the transaction output that is less than its fee; which also leads to the concept of dust limit.

Technically, we calculate the limit according to the size of inputs and outputs. They are 546 Satoshi for regular non-Segwit bitcoin transactions and 29.4 Satoshi for native SegWit transactions. This means that any normal transaction equal to or less than 546 Satoshi is spam.

Dusting attacks

Dusting attacks

Scammers have recently found that crypto users do not pay much attention to these small amounts in their wallets; So they started “dusting” attacks on numerous addresses by sending them a few Satoshi. After dodging multiple addresses, the next step in a dusting attack is to combine these different addresses to identify which address was associated with the same wallet.

The goal is to identify the owners of the attacked addresses and wallets. Attackers, if successful, may use this method to stage phishing attacks or cyber threats and extortion. Hackers initially carried out dusting attacks with bitcoin, but these attacks also occur in other cryptocurrencies that are on the public and traceable blockchain.

In late October 2018, the developers of the Samourai Bitcoin wallet announced that dusting had targeted some of their users. The company tweeted to users about the attacks and explained how they could protect themselves against them.

The Wallet Samourai team developed an instant alert for dusting attacks. They also implemented a “Do Not Spend” feature that allowed users to mark suspicious assets to prevent them from being included in future transactions.
Because dusting attacks rely on the combined analysis of multiple addresses, attackers are unable to communicate between the addresses and their owners to identify the wallets if the wallet owner doesn’t transfer assets.
Samourai Wallet offers its users the ability to automatically report suspicious transactions. Despite the 546 Satoshi limit, many Dusting attacks today are much higher, usually between 1,000 and 5,000 Satoshi.

Bitcoin anonymity

Because Bitcoin is open and decentralized, anyone can set up a wallet and join the network without providing personal information. Although all bitcoin transactions are public and enabled, it is not always easy to identify the identity behind each address; and this is what makes bitcoin slightly anonymous.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions are more likely to remain anonymous because they are performed without intermediaries. However, many cryptocurrencies exchange personal information through KYC verification processes which means that users run the risk of being identified when they move their assets between their wallets and exchange accounts.
Keep in mind, opposed to many people’s beliefs, Bitcoin is not an anonymous cryptocurrency. In addition to recent dusting attacks, many companies, research laboratories, and government agencies are analyzing blockchains for authentication in blockchain networks, some of which they believe have made significant progress.

Dusting Attack conclusion

Although it is almost impossible to hack and disrupt a bitcoin blockchain, wallets are a worrying problem. Because users do not enter their personal information when creating an account, they will not be able to prove the theft of their assets if some hackers gain access to their coins; And of course, even if they could, it would be useless.
When the user keeps their passwords in their wallet, this wallet acts as their bank; Which means that they will not be able to do anything if they lose private keys.

Privacy and security are becoming more and more valuable, not only for those who have something to hide; but for all of us. It is also worthy for cryptocurrency traders and investors.
In addition to dusting and other authentication attacks, extra security threats such as Cryptojacking, Ransomware, and Phishing are also part of the cryptography space, so it is necessary to be aware of them.
Other security measures that users must take include installing a VPN with a valid antivirus on all devices. And also encrypting wallets, and storing private keys in encrypted folders.


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