[talks] Friday at 11a - Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing Attacks on Cryptocurrencies

Nick Feamster feamster at CS.Princeton.EDU
Wed May 24 11:51:41 EDT 2017

Please let me know if you’d be interested in meeting Maria on Friday afternoon.



Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing Attacks on Cryptocurrencies
Maria Apostolaki, ETH Zürich
11a, Sherrerd Hall 306

As the most successful cryptocurrency to date, Bitcoin constitutes a target of choice for attackers. In this talk, we will look at the impact and practicality of Internet routing attacks on the cryptocurrency. We will show that the efficiency of routing manipulation and the significant centralization of Bitcoin in terms of mining and routing make two large-scale routing attacks possible today. The first attack consists in partitioning the Bitcoin network into two disjoint components of almost equal mining power by hijacking few (<100) BGP prefixes. The second attack consists in considerably delaying block propagation by interfering with few key Bitcoin messages in a stealth way. The potential damage to Bitcoin is worrying. Among others, such attacks could reduce miners’ revenue and render the network much more susceptible to double spending and selfish mining.

Maria Apostolaki is a second year PhD student in the Networked Systems Group at ETH Zürich, advised by Prof. Laurent Vanbever. Her research focus on Internet routing and its implication on performance and security. Prior to joining ETH, Maria earned her diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

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