51% attack to be live streamed, showing just how easy fraud would be

13 Oct, 2018
by Arthur Sillers
News
51% attack to be live streamed, showing just how easy fraud would be

At 8pm UTC, less than an hour from the time this article is publishing, an educational 51% attack will be streamed over Twitch.

Twitter user geocold51, also known on Reddit as team-periwinkle, devised his plan to live stream his attack on real functioning cryptocurrencies in order to put pressure on tokens and exchanges to secure themselves against the very real threat of a majority attack.

In an interview with BTC Manager, geocold51 said that while many crypto traders are generally aware of the possibility of a 51% attack, they severely underestimate how easy one would be to accomplish. In response, the hacker is showing just how easy and cheap it can be to take control of a number of blockchains.

Geocold51 did not specify which coin he’s planning to attack, lest users try to thwart him in advance, but he did mention his reasons for his choice: ‘I’m attacking this coin to rustle the jimmies of a person who’s security team gave me a very very thorough patdown at DefCon one year.’ Geocold51 will not implement any harmful changes to the blockchain in question, nor will he scam anyone out of their cryptocurrency. The hack will just act as a proof of concept, showing that the real danger looms heavy over many blockchains.

51% attacks occur when one actor gets majority control over the mining that powers a blockchain, and have been a concern brought about by many commentators. Horizon reportedly has been moving to implement changes to the consensus algorithms blockchains use in order to fend off such an attack, but most blockchains remain easily and cheaply vulnerable.

Geocold51 believes that by showing everyone just how easy this would be to pull off maliciously, devteams will be spurred to implement systemic fixes.

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