As a result of an unsuccessful attack on Vertcoin, a cybercriminal lost money

The Vertcoin (VTC) blockchain project suffered a so-called “51% attack,” which resulted in the cybercriminal losing more money the he could steal.

According to one of the developers of the project, James Lovejoy, on November 30, an unknown criminal used leased computing power to carry out a cyber attack.

“There is strong evidence this attack was performed using rented hashrate from Nicehash. The attack was originally discovered by inspecting the work being sent from Nicehash’s stratum servers, which were sending work for non-public blocks”, — reports James Lovejoy.

The attacker managed to take control of 51% of the VTC hashrate and reorganize the blockchain by removing 603 blocks and adding 553 of his own, which brought him 13,825 VTCs with a total cost of about $ 3200.

Read also: Europol has neutralized the network that distributes the Imminent Monitor RAT tool

According to Lovejoy, an unknown criminal spent between $ 3,600 and $ 7,200 to carry out an attack. As a result of these operations, the net loss ranged from 0.06 to 0.56 BTC (approximately $ 440 to $ 4100).

Given that the costs of the attack are not covered, the motivation of the attacker remains unclear. Experts suggest that the culprit could be a Bittrex trading platform for Vertcoin. Specialists immediately turned to the exchange with a request to cancel trading operations with VTC and close the wallet, which could become the main reason for the termination of the attack.

James Lovejoy
James Lovejoy

“Given the attack was likely not profitable to perform based solely on block rewards, the motivation for the attack is not certain. Given the reorg was just deeper than 600 blocks (Bittrex’s confirmation requirement for VTC), it is possible that Bittrex was the original target, but the double-spend portion attack was aborted due to Bittrex disabling their wallet before the fork could be released. It is also possible that no double-spend was ever intended, and the attack was a proof of concept or sabotage attack”, — reported James Lovejoy.

Attack 51% is a term that means that an attacker must have at his disposal more capacity than the rest of the network by at least 1%, a kind of “control packet” of generating capacities. Having minded over 51% of the hash, a miner can create an alternative block chain and hide it from other users, stop confirming transactions in the network, stop currency extraction in the main chain and prevent other miners from opening new blocks.
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About Daniel Zimmermann

Daniel Zimmermann has been writing on security and malware subjects for many years and has been working in the security industry for over 10 years. Daniel was educated at the Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany and currently lives in New York.

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