On Tuesday 18th September 2018, Bitcoin core engineers- a software applied in powering the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain- tweeted that they had patched a susceptibility that would have permitted a miner to interfere with the blockchain and wreck it completely.
The bug was defined by a Bitcoin.org co-owner, whose Twitter handle is @CobraBitcoin, as “very scary.”
“For less than $80,000, you could have brought down the entire network,” Emin Gun Sirer, an associate professor of computer science at Cornell University said. “that is less money than what a lot of entities would pay for a zero-day attack of many systems.”
Details of the Bug
The bug was discovered in the Bitcoin Core code itself, a software application applied by many digital currencies. Litecoin (LTC), for instance, patched it on Tuesday. Technicians have labelled the bug a “denial-of-service susceptibility.” The bug could have permitted miners- people who use computers to solve a puzzle and add a block of BTC operations to the BTC blockchain, yielding new Bitcoins- to develop “poisonous” blocks that can recycle the cryptocurrency.
The Bitcoin Blockchain
Bitcoin depends on a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network of “nodes” to implement the blockchain’s guidelines, probably the most essential rules that bar people from carrying out duplicate transactions using one coin.
Usually, such attempts are banned by the Bitcoin network, but the discovered bug, if incorporated into the blockchain, could have wrecked the software of any Bitcoin Core user who obtained it.
Had the poisoned block spread throughout the blockchain, it could have crashed completely into small bits. Sirer added that “There would have likely been a flurry of activity by the community to bring the system back online after such an attack, and it would not likely have been catastrophic but definitely disruptive.”