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U.S. Defense Department finds Bitcoin vulnerability

U.S. Defense Department finds Bitcoin vulnerability

A study conducted by analysts showed that 60% of the first cryptocurrency protocol network traffic passes only through three ISPs.

According to the report, several scenarios could result in centralized control of the bitcoin network. Trail of Bits, a cybersecurity company, conducted a related study commissioned by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Analysts found vulnerabilities in Bitcoin's decentralization based on the fact that 60% of network traffic passes through only three Internet service providers. The companies that provide access to the network are able to deny service to any node or reduce the quality of communications.

Currently, Tor is the largest provider on the Bitcoin network, routing traffic to about 50% of the nodes. Half of them work through the Tor network, and the other half run through .onion addresses. The third-largest network provider is the German AS24940, accounting for another 10% of the nodes.

Researchers also found that 21% of Bitcoin nodes use an older version of the Bitcoin Core client, valid as of June 2021, which also has vulnerability problems. Analysts note that running all DLT (distributed ledger technology) nodes on the latest software version is critical. Otherwise, any possible consensus errors could lead to blockchain splitting.

Analysts reached another conclusion: bitcoin network traffic is not encrypted, and any third party on the network route between nodes (such as ISPs, Wi-Fi hotspot operators, or governments) can monitor and regulate it.

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