What is a "Dust Attack"?
Hackers and scammers are always developing new methods to get to the bitcoins of their victims. Here we introduce you to a relatively new method, the Dusting or Dust attack. This attack is about finding out more about the victims and carrying out a well-planned attack later.
What is "Dust"?
Dust is the smallest amount of cryptocurrencies. Take Bitcoin as an example, where is the smallest unit 1 Sathoshi, which equates to 0.00000001 BTC. Even a few hundred Satoshis can still be described as Dust because the value is usually lower than the transaction costs. Since the value is so low, it is usually ignored by users or does not receive much attention. This is where the scammers start and send the smallest amounts of cryptocurrencies to various wallet addresses to collect information.
Bitcoin transactions are not anonymous but pseudonymous.
Many Bitcoin users assume that their Bitcoin transactions are anonymous as they are not directly linked to names or addresses. Nevertheless, you can track transactions down to the last detail because the blockchain is a public "cash register." But what brings many advantages also has disadvantages. If you can assign a person's wallet address, you can track all their transactions in Blockchain Explorer. If you want to try this out for yourself, you can use a wallet address, e.g. Our Bitcoin Donations Address 37CB51EbJb72m3SncofWDdMZ8HhbdfkSeG enter in the blockchain Explorer.
Now you can see every transaction and what address it comes from. Now you can simply click on the next address and see what transactions were made there. So you can see step by step where the Bitcoin comes from.
How do the scammers proceed?
The scammers have found that it is not attracting much attention or even noticed by the victims when small amounts are received on their wallets. This is what the scammers exploit and send a small amount of Satoshis to thousands of addresses. In the next step, they now analyze each wallet of a successful transaction. They try to track and link the transactions to eventually identify the person or company behind them. It is enough to have your Bitcoin address made public in a forum or anywhere else. From then on you can be linked to the address and see where and where the bitcoins are sent and whether the person might have any more addresses. The scammers use all technical tools to analyze and link the Internet and blockchain with people. We can probably expect something similar from the tax office in the future:-).
The scammers are now exploiting this knowledge for targeted phishing attacks or cyber extortion.
I know who you are, pay me and I will not reveal your identity
How to protect yourself?
We always recommend generating a new wallet address when you execute a transaction. The hardware wallets, such as The Ledger Nano S (Amazon Link) do this automatically without you getting to know anything about it. So you can only assign one transaction to each address and that makes tracking much harder. In addition, you should not disclose your wallet address anywhere enough to infer your own identity.
The wallet provider Samourai has now integrated a function into its wallet, which is supposed to warn against such a Dust attack. If a Dust Attack is detected, the wallet addresses are marked and the users inform that they should no longer use the affected address.
How do you protect yourself from scammers and what experiences have you had? Write us in the comments or in our Telegram Channel!!!