The Fake Peers Attack! - Episode 49
Ep. 49

The Fake Peers Attack! - Episode 49

Episode description

Bitcoin was under attack! It’s the story the mainstream media won’t tell you!

Hosts Aaron van Wirdum and Sjors Provoost finally met in Utrecht again to record Bitcoin, Explained. In this episode, they discuss a recent attack on the Bitcoin network, where some nodes were flooding peers with fake IP-addresses.

As previously discussed in episode 13, Bitcoin nodes connect to peers on the network through IP-addresses, which they learn from their existing peers. Nodes on the network essentially share the IP-addresses of other nodes.

Recently, however, some Bitcoin nodes shared large amounts of IP-addresses that weren’t associated with real Bitcoin nodes at all. While this attack did not do very much damage, it did waste resources from nodes on the network. On top of that, Aaron and Sjors explain, the attack could offer the attacker insight into Bitcoin’s network topology by analyzing how the fake IP-addresses spread through the network.

Finally, Aaron and Sjors discuss how the attack was solved by rate limiting the amount of IP-addresses than any node will allow its peers to be shared. Further, they consider how in free and open source software development, fixing problems is not always as straightforward as it may seem…

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