Bitcoin Users Leery of Tor: 23% of the Network’s Exit Capacity Compromised

Hackers are stealing bitcoin through the large-scale use of malicious relays on the Tor network according to a newly published research report on the subject. The researcher dubbed “nusenu” said he warned people about the growing problem in December 2019 but instead of improving Tor exit relay activity “things have become even worse,” he stressed.

Malicious entities have made visitors of the anonymous communications protocol the Tor network vulnerable to attacks. Tor is a browser and open-source software that directs a person’s web traffic in an obfuscated fashion in order to circumvent traffic analysis and network surveillance.

A great number of bitcoiners and cryptocurrency advocates leverage the Tor network to surf the web with anonymity but also to leverage darknet markets and coin mixers. Even Satoshi Nakamoto recommended the use of Tor while sending transactions for added privacy.

On February 2, 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto said:

You could use Tor if you don’t want anyone to know you’re even using Bitcoin.

The research analysis from the investigator “nusenu” says “23% of the Tor network’s exit capacity has been attacking Tor users.” Of course, the hackers are focused on making money and they have utilized bitcoin address rewriting attacks.

Bitcoin Users Leery of Tor: 23% of the Network’s Exit Capacity Compromised
“What ISPs did the attacker use? Mostly OVH and FranTech Solutions. Graph by nusenu (raw data source: https://metrics.torproject.org/onionoo.html)”

Essentially, the person sending the coin will unknowingly send the crypto asset to a different address controlled by the hackers rather than sending it to the intended destination. Nusenu detailed that bitcoin address rewriting attacks have been happening for a long time now but the scale of the operation has swelled.

“It appears that they are primarily after cryptocurrency-related websites—namely multiple bitcoin mixer services. They replaced bitcoin addresses in HTTP traffic to redirect transactions to their wallets instead of the user-provided bitcoin…

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