Bitcoin IP Anonymity Hoax: Reality Call for Online Security Stirred Up Again
Thousands have been using the service of Bitcoin trusting and encouraged by the promise of its anonymity.
Or so they thought.
According to a paper recently published by the University of Luxembourg, there is a crack in the anonymity settings of the crypto-currency service.
According to the researchers, hackers can crack the IP address of the users and therefore, unveil their identity. This discovery remains to be relevant even if the users will use different pseudonyms for every transaction.
Virtual currency services like Bitcoin has become popular recently because many users find its convenience irresistible and practical: internet users can use payment services like Bitcoin to purchase illegal substances, buy for goods or services from illegal markets, or simply purchase products that they are not comfortable to be connected with. With Bitcoin, users also feel more at ease to pay because it does not require them to key in their personal information as with using credit card or bank account.
However, all this promise of anonymity and security was put in question when the researchers from Luxembourg discovered that Bitcoin’s DoS or Denial of Service can be tapped into by hackers.
Myth of Anonymity Debunked: Why Bitcoin is Not as Protected as You Think
How can hackers crack the users’ identity through Bitcoin?
According to the University of Luxembourg researchers, the hackers can use multiple computers and spend an amount under €1,500 to unravel the anonymity of the user.
The research goes on to explain that hackers can utilize various means to produce malformed messages. From this, the hackers can get into the servers of Bitcoin and trick the system to ultimately get the IP address and identity of the users.
The researchers exhorted Bitcoin and its users that the substandard authentication of the service network has to be corrected and strengthened. They explained that it is not difficult to trick nodes to blacklist the IP addresses stemming from suspicious connections.
A Call for Stronger IP Protection Rung Again by Bitcoin
This research and revelation of Bitcoin’s flimsy IP protection unveiled the truth that nothing is completely safe online. Many websites, whether virtual currency, e-commerce, or others that which require users to key in information with the promise to protect their identity, do not always keep their promise.
It does not go to show that these websites are all dubious and untrustworthy. However, the protection and barriers they input may just be not enough to keep online criminals at bay.
As internet users, it is first and foremost the responsibility of the people to discern which websites to frequent, which ones to entrust their personal information on, and when and how to perform security check on their computer, online activities, and personal data. There are many protective measures to be utilized from acquiring IP anonymity to installing anti-theft programs in one’s computer. Constant vigilance of one’s important information and bank details is the primary responsibility of the users. It does not pay well to just entrust this obligation to websites – whether their promise of anonymity and protection is fortified or not.