Scam on the loose: “The Dusting Attack”
Dust attacks have been a famous way of malicious activity so that hackers can break the blockchain privacy. Dusting Attack has been used mainly by programmers performing stress tests on network and email blasts. However, scammers are now using it to reveal address anonymity.
Dusting Attack, what is it?
“Crypto dust” is a tiny amount of a particular coin or token. It can accumulate in a wallet as a result of airdrops or rounding of transactions.
Sometimes, users don’t notice the crypto dust because it has a little fiat value. Particular wallets and exchanges have functions to hide minute balances.
Dusting means sending little amounts of cryptos to different wallet addresses in order to reveal them. By connecting the addresses of a particular crypto asset, the hackers will then track down the activity of the corresponding wallets, analysing every address while searching for clues to identify the person or company that holds the wallet.
This move won’t give the attacker access to the funds, it is just an attack. Dusting can only allow guessing the identity of those addresses.
Criminals and scammers aren’t the only ones to perform those types of activities. Law enforcement agencies can also use this technique to bind an individual or criminal organizations to an address. This is to target money laundered, contraband, or large criminal network.
Dusting Attacks are Rising
The reason why the malicious attacks are now popular for hackers is because traders and large holders didn’t pay much attention to the small amount of tokens that show up in their wallet addresses.
In the past, dusting attacks have been seen on the Bitcoin network but quickly expanded to Litecoin, BNB, and other cryptocurrencies. A known example of a dust attack occurred in October 2018, when Samourai Wallet developers have warned some users that their wallets are under dusting attack.
How to fight Dusting Attacks?
To detect an attack, a dust transaction normally has one address on the sender side and hundreds or thousands of addresses on another with the same small traces entered to them.
If ever a user has been “dusted” the wallets that indicate dusty UTXOs and mark them as “do not spend” if the exchange allows it. It could prevent them from being used for further transactions.
A hardware wallet can also be used for protection, although expensive, they can be a safer storage for private keys.
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