There is no question that Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are continuing to rise in volume, frequency and sophistication. In fact, they have grown by 80% since this time last year. As with many high-profile businesses, coin exchanges are also the target of DDoS attacks.
The increased flood of interest as well as the surge in traffic in cryptocurrency exchanges has made for a lucrative target from hackers worldwide. DDoS attacks are one of the most popular methods of disrupting the Internet.
A Distributed Denial of Service attack attempts to disrupt a user’s access to a resource or network, sometimes making that resource completely unavailable. This type of attack might last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days causing considerable damage unless there is a DDoS protection strategy in place.
According to a report from the University of Twente:
"A DDoS attack degrades the performance of a cryptocurrency exchange. In the worst case scenario, it can cause temporary unavailability of the online platform. This would mean that when the exchange is under an attack the volume of digital currency traded would decrease. As cryptocurrencies can be bought from any of the hundreds of exchanges that are on the web, temporary unavailability of just one of the exchanges would not have a significant impact on the price of the cryptocurrency but will have an effect on the revenues of the attacked platform."
Different Types of DDoS Attacks
DDoS attacks come in various forms with outages often resulting in colossal financial losses.
The following are some of the most popular types of DDoS attacks:
- SYN Flood
- LAND attack
- SYN-ACK Flood
- Fragmented ACK Flood
- UDP Flood
- Spoofed Session Flood
- VoIP Flood
- CHARGEN Flood
- DNS Flood
- Ping of Death
- HTTP Flood
- IP Null Attack
- Smurf Attack
- Misused Application Attack
- Fraggle Attack
- Zero-Day DDoS
DDoS Attacks Focused on Cryptocurrencies
While most DDoS attacks target large corporations like banks, government services and commercial retailers, it is important to remember that any device, network, or server that is connected to the Internet is potentially vulnerable to this kind of attack.
Bitcoin Gold was a DDoS target on the same day that it officially launched, with 10 million hits per minute resulting in the clogging of its web traffic requests.
"It was a clear a DDoS campaign was used against the site, which rendered it essentially unavailable for four hours, causing numerous reports about either the team’s inability to insure against such basic attacks or the team’s lack of knowledge in critical areas of website security."
DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly popular, mostly due to their simplicity. Companies without adequate security are typically the easiest targets, however, this isn’t always the case. Bitfinex suffered a sophisticated attack back in February, with the attacker attempting to exploit numerous platform features in order to intensify the load in the infrastructure.
"We use a variety of different prevention mechanisms to guard against such a Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack. Still, the huge number of different IP addresses used and the sophisticated crafting of the requests towards our API v1 exploited an internal inefficiency in one of our non-core process queues," Ardoino explained.
The Good News
The decentralized characteristics of blockchain mean that it has powerful protection against cyber threats, including DDoS attacks. Even in the event that several nodes go offline or simply fail to communicate, the blockchain is able to resume operating.
Bitcoin, the oldest and biggest cryptocurrency, is believed to be the most secure and immune blockchain available at the moment.
Medium reports that, "as the price of BTC increases, the value of the block reward increases as well, which incentivizes miners to bring more hashrate online to mine. The higher the hash rate of a cryptocurrency network, the more expensive to 51% attack. The security budget protects the network against 51% attacks which primarily occur on the tip of the blockchain, rather than an entire chain rewrite, which would require significantly more resources."
DDoS attacks might be on the rise around the globe, targeting major organizations on a daily basis. Companies are in need of the right security to thwart such attacks, and this goes for cryptocurrencies as well. As the oldest on the market, Bitcoin has succeeded for the past ten years, despite its hostile environment. There is no reason to believe it won’t continue on this path.