In recent months, incidents of so-called dusting attacks have dramatically increased. Together with Changelly, let’s figure out what is a dusting attack and how to prevent it in the future.
A dusting attack is a type of malicious activity when attackers try to get confidential information from holders of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by sending tiny amounts of coins to their personal wallets. The smallest unit of BTC is 1 Satoshi or 0.00000001 BTC. Transactions of up to 200 Satoshi are considered dust.
How Deanonymization Occurs
It was initially believed that the decentralized Bitcoin network guarantees complete anonymity to its users. However, over time, it became clear that this is not entirely true.
A feature of blockchain technology is that all transactions that take place on the network get recorded on the blockchain. The transaction history is publicly available for viewing through so-called blockchain explorers. Which practically means that every user on the Internet (and even the one who has not committed a transaction) can see the hash of any transaction, as well as the public addresses of the sender and recipient of the cryptocurrency. In fact, neither the hash nor the public addresses contain users’ personal data. At first glance, everything looks transparent and harmless. However, over time, attackers learned to use this open data for their selfish purposes. Here’s how it goes:
- An attacker sends victims “dust,” usually up to 200 Satoshi;
- Then the hacker begins to track the funds’ movement among users’ wallets that have undergone a dusting attack in order to further relate the addresses of a specific user or an entire company to each other;
- After that, the attacker can use this information against the cryptocurrency holder.
Who Can Suffer from Dusting Attacks
As a rule, the victims of dusting attacks are uninformed cryptocurrency holders or, on the contrary, prominent market players, who have much weight in the crypto industry.
Ordinary users get threatened by the fact that hackers will disclose their personal information and thus deanonymize them. If to talk about the big market players, the knowledge of a large number of addresses belonging to a certain company can affect not only the company itself but also the entire industry as a whole. This information can be used for market speculation, false predictions, insider trading, phishing attacks, and even extortion.
How to Prevent Dusting Attacks Using Changelly
There is no need to worry in case you use your addresses only for storing crypto. As long as you store your assets in one place and do not send it to untrusted crypto exchanges, there is nothing to track. Nevertheless, there is a reliable way to get rid of the dust in your wallet. To do that you simply need to exchange all the cryptocurrency in the affected address to another crypto asset using Changelly service. By doing that you will receive the new crypto free of dust and then you’ll be able to exchange it back by sending it to the new unaffected address. The exchange procedure won’t cost you much, as Changelly charges a tiny fee of 0.25% for all crypto exchanges.
With every single day, confidentiality is gaining in value. Not only for those who have something to hide but for all of us. This is even more valuable for cryptocurrency traders and investors. So be careful when receiving suspicious funds from random users and keep your crypto in a safe place to prevent its loss. Have a nice swap!