Bijack: Breaking Bitcoin Network with TCP Vulnerabilities

Shaoyu Li, Shanghao Shi, Yang Xiao, Chaoyu Zhang, Y. Thomas Hou, Wenjing Lou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that compromising Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer network is an effective way to disrupt the Bitcoin service. While many attack vectors have been uncovered such as BGP hijacking in the network layer and eclipse attack in the application layer, one significant attack vector that resides in the transport layer is largely overlooked. In this paper, we investigate the TCP vulnerabilities of the Bitcoin system and their consequences. We present Bijack, an off-path TCP hijacking attack on the Bitcoin network that is able to terminate Bitcoin connections or inject malicious data into the connections with only a few prior requirements and a limited amount of knowledge. This results in the Bitcoin network topology leakage, and the Bitcoin nodes isolation. We measured the real Bitcoin network and discovered that more than 1700 (27%) of the reachable Bitcoin nodes are vulnerable to our attack whose physical locations are spread across the world. We evaluated the efficiency and impacts of the Bijack attack in real-world settings, and the results show that Bijack successfully realizes several fatal Bitcoin attacks without too much effort.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Security – ESORICS 2023 - 28th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, 2023, Proceedings
EditorsGene Tsudik, Mauro Conti, Kaitai Liang, Georgios Smaragdakis
Pages306-326
Number of pages21
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024
Event28th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2023 - The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: Sep 25 2023Sep 29 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume14346 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

Conference

Conference28th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, ESORICS 2023
Country/TerritoryNetherlands
CityThe Hague
Period9/25/239/29/23

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Keywords

  • Bitcoin
  • Network security
  • TCP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science

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