[cryptography] attacks against bitcoin

Ian G iang at iang.org
Sun Jun 12 09:12:08 EDT 2011

On 12/06/11 8:16 PM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> How safe is the bitcoin cryptosystem and the communication network
> against targeted attacks?

It depends on what the intention or objective of the attack is.  And 
that depends on the threat actor.

For example, a phishing threat actor would be looking to steal money. 
Whereas the state actor would be looking to figure out who is doing 
what, to attack out of band.  A competitor would look to attack the 
reputation, by e.g., disruption to reliability or mud flinging.  A 
retailer / consumer would look to dump liability.  Insiders would look 
to extract rents.

Each of these interests from diverse parties result in different 
attractivenesses to different threat scenarios, many of them 
uncorrelated.  Some of the scenarios and assets can be protected 
("mitigated") by tech/crypto, but typically most cannot, and require 
non-tech mitigations.

To go any distance on this, you'd rapidly end up doing a major risk 
analysis, a lot of work.

The alternative is to start from the classical CIA, etc.  The problem 
with that is it that it is someone else's threat model, not yours.  You 
really don't want to discover who that someone is after you've built 
your system, it'll so ruin your appetite.


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