Routing for Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency - RouterFreak

Part 5. I'm writing a series about blockchain tech and possible future security risks. This is the fifth part of the series talking about an advanced vulnerability of BTC.

The previous parts will give you usefull basic blockchain knowledge and insights on quantum resistance vs blockchain that are not explained in this part.
Part 1, what makes blockchain reliable?
Part 2, The mathematical concepts Hashing and Public key cryptography.
Part 3, Quantum resistant blockchain vs Quantum computing.
Part 4A, The advantages of quantum resistance from genesis block, A
Part 4B, The advantages of quantum resistance from genesis block, A

Why BTC is vulnerable for quantum attacks sooner than you would think.
Content:
The BTC misconception: “Original public keys are not visible until you make a transaction, so BTC is quantum resistant.”
Already exposed public keys.
Hijacking transactions.
Hijacks during blocktime
Hijacks pre-blocktime.
MITM attacks

- Why BTC is vulnerable for quantum attacks sooner than you would think. -

Blockchain transactions are secured by public-private key cryptography. The keypairs used today will be at risk when quantum computers reach a certain critical level: Quantum computers can at a certain point of development, derive private keys from public keys. See for more sourced info on this subject in part 3. So if a public key can be obtained by an attacker, he can then use a quantum computer to find the private key. And as he has both the public key and the private key, he can control and send the funds to an address he owns.
Just to make sure there will be no misconceptions: When public-private key cryptography such as ECDSA and RSA can be broken by a quantum computer, this will be an issue for all blockchains who don't use quantum resistant cryptography. The reason this article is about BTC is because I take this paper as a reference point: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.10377.pdf Here they calculate an estimate when BTC will be at risk while taking the BTC blocktime as the window of opportunity.
The BTC misconception: “Original public keys are not visible until you make a transaction, so BTC is quantum resistant.”
In pretty much every discussion I've read and had on the subject, I notice that people are under the impression that BTC is quantum resistant as long as you use your address only once. BTC uses a hashed version of the public key as a send-to address. So in theory, all funds are registered on the chain on hashed public keys instead of to the full, original public keys, which means that the original public key is (again in theory) not public. Even a quantum computer can't derive the original public key from a hashed public key, therefore there is no risk that a quantum computer can derive the private key from the public key. If you make a transaction, however, the public key of the address you sent your funds from will be registered in full form in the blockchain. So if you were to only send part of your funds, leaving the rest on the old address, your remaining funds would be on a published public key, and therefore vulnerable to quantum attacks. So the workaround would be to transfer the remaining funds, within the same transaction, to a new address. In that way, your funds would be once again registered on the blockchain on a hashed public key instead of a full, original public key.
If you feel lost already because you are not very familiar with the tech behind blockchain, I will try to explain the above in a more familiar way:
You control your funds through your public- private key pair. Your funds are registered on your public key. And you can create transactions, which you need to sign to be valid. You can only create a signature if you have your private key. See it as your e-mail address (public key) and your password (Private key). Many people got your email address, but only you have your password. So the analogy is, that if you got your address and your password, then you can access your mail and send emails (Transactions). If the right quantum computer would be available, people could use that to calculate your password (private key), if they have your email address (public key).
Now, because BTC doesn’t show your full public key anywhere until you make a transaction. That sounds pretty safe. It means that your public key is private until you make a transaction. The only thing related to your public key that is public is the hash of your public key. Here is a short explanation of what a hash is: a hash is an outcome of an equation. Usually one-way hash functions are used, where you can not derive the original input from the output; but every time you use the same hash function on the same original input (For example IFUHE8392ISHF), you will always get the same output (For example G). That way you can have your coins on public key "IFUHE8392ISHF", while on the chain, they are registered on "G".
So your funds are registered on the blockchain on the "Hash" of the public key. The Hash of the public key is also your "email address" in this case. So you give "G" as your address to send BTC to.
As said before: since it is, even for a quantum computer, impossible to derive a public key from the Hash of a public key, your coins are safe for quantum computers as long as the public key is only registered in hashed form. The obvious safe method would be, never to reuse an address, and always make sure that when you make a payment, you send your remaining funds to a fresh new address. (There are wallets that can do this for you.) In theory, this would make BTC quantum resistant, if used correctly. This, however, is not as simple as it seems. Even though the above is correct, there is a way to get to your funds.
Already exposed public keys.
But before we get to that, there is another point that is often overlooked: Not only is the security of your personal BTC is important, but also the security of funds of other users. If others got hacked, the news of the hack itself and the reaction of the market to that news, would influence the marketprice. Or, if a big account like the Satoshi account were to be hacked and dumped, the dump itself, combined with the news of the hack, could be even worse. An individual does not have the control of other people’s actions. So even though one might make sure his public key is only registered in hashed form, others might not do so, or might no know their public key is exposed. There are several reasons why a substantial amount of addresses actually have exposed full public keys:
In total, about 36% of all BTC are on addresses with exposed public keys Of which about 20% is on lost addresses. and here
Hijacking transactions.
But even if you consider the above an acceptable risk, just because you yourself will make sure you never reuse an address, then still, the fact that only the hashed public key is published until you make a transaction is a false sense of security. It only works, if you never make a transaction. Why? Public keys are revealed while making a transaction, so transactions can be hijacked while being made.
Here it is important to understand two things:
1.) How is a transaction sent?
The owner has the private key and the public key and uses that to log into the secured environment, the wallet. This can be online or offline. Once he is in his wallet, he states how much he wants to send and to what address.
When he sends the transaction, it will be broadcasted to the blockchain network. But before the actual transaction will be sent, it is formed into a package, created by the wallet. This happens out of sight of the sender.
That package ends up carrying roughly the following info: the public key to point to the address where the funds will be coming from, the amount that will be transferred, the address the funds will be transferred to (depending on the blockchain this could be the hashed public key, or the original public key of the address the funds will be transferred to). This package also carries the most important thing: a signature, created by the wallet, derived from the private- public key combination. This signature proves to the miners that you are the rightful owner and you can send funds from that public key.
Then this package is sent out of the secure wallet environment to multiple nodes. The nodes don’t need to trust the sender or establish the sender’s "identity”, because the sender proofs he is the rightful owner by adding the signature that corresponds with the public key. And because the transaction is signed and contains no confidential information, private keys, or credentials, it can be publicly broadcast using any underlying network transport that is convenient. As long as the transaction can reach a node that will propagate it into the network, it doesn’t matter how it is transported to the first node.
2.) How is a transaction confirmed/ fulfilled and registered on the blockchain?
After the transaction is sent to the network, it is ready to be processed. The nodes have a bundle of transactions to verify and register on the next block. This is done during a period called the block time. In the case of BTC that is 10 minutes.
If we process the information written above, we will see that there are two moments where you can actually see the public key, while the transaction is not fulfilled and registered on the blockchain yet.
1: during the time the transaction is sent from the sender to the nodes
2: during the time the nodes verify the transaction. (The blocktime)
Hijacks during blocktime
This paper describes how you could hijack a transaction and make a new transaction of your own, using someone else’s address and send his coins to an address you own during moment 2: the time the nodes verify the transaction:
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.10377.pdf
"(Unprocessed transactions) After a transaction has been broadcast to the network, but before it is placed on the blockchain it is at risk from a quantum attack. If the secret key can be derived from the broadcast public key before the transaction is placed on the blockchain, then an attacker could use this secret key to broadcast a new transaction from the same address to his own address. If the attacker then ensures that this new transaction is placed on the blockchain first, then he can effectively steal all the bitcoin behind the original address." (Page 8, point 3.)
So this means that BTC obviously is not a quantum secure blockchain. Because as soon as you will touch your funds and use them for payment, or send them to another address, you will have to make a transaction and you risk a quantum attack.
Hijacks pre-blocktime.
The story doesn't end here. The paper doesn't describe the posibility of a pre-blocktime hijack.
So back to the paper: as explained, while making a transaction your public key is exposed for at least the transaction time. This transaction time is 10 minutes where your transaction is being confirmed during the 10 minute block time. That is the period where your public key is visible and where, as described in the paper, a transaction can be hijacked, and by using quantum computers, a forged transaction can be made. So the critical point is determined to be the moment where quantum computers can derive private keys from public keys within 10 minutes. Based on that 10 minute period, they calculate (estimate) how long it will take before QC's start forming a threat to BTC. (“ By our most optimistic estimates, as early as 2027 a quantum computer could exist that can break the elliptic curve signature scheme in less than 10 minutes, the block time used in Bitcoin.“ This is also shown in figure 4 on page 10 and later more in depth calculated in appendix C, where the pessimistic estimate is around 2037.) But you could extend that 10 minutes through network based attacks like DDoS, BGP routing attacks, NSA Quantum Insert, Eclipse attacks, MITM attacks or anything like that. (And I don’t mean you extend the block time by using a network based attack, but you extend the time you have access to the public key before the transaction is confirmed.) Bitcoin would be earlier at risk than calculated in this paper.
Also other Blockchains with way shorter block times imagine themselves safe for a longer period than BTC, but with this extension of the timeframe within which you can derive the private key, they too will be vulnerable way sooner.
Not so long ago an eclipse attack demonstrated it could have done the trick. and here Causing the blockchain to work over max capacity, means the transactions will be waiting to be added to a block for a longer time. This time needs to be added on the blocktime, expanding the period one would have time to derive the private key from the public key.
That seems to be fixed now, but it shows there are always new attacks possible and when the incentive is right (Like a few billion $ kind of right) these could be specifically designed for certain blockchains.
MITM attacks
An MITM attack could find the public key in the first moment the public key is exposed. (During the time the transaction is sent from the sender to the nodes) So these transactions that are sent to the network, contain public keys that you could intercept. So that means that if you intercept transactions (and with that the private keys) and simultaneously delay their arrival to the blockchain network, you create extra time to derive the private key from the public key using a quantum computer. When you done that, you send a transaction of your own before the original transaction has arrived and is confirmed and send funds from that stolen address to an address of your choosing. The result would be that you have an extra 10, 20, 30 minutes (or however long you can delay the original transactions), to derive the public key. This can be done without ever needing to mess with a blockchain network, because the attack happens outside the network. Therefore, slower quantum computers form a threat. Meaning that earlier models of quantum computers can form a threat than they assume now.
When MITM attacks and hijacking transactions will form a threat to BTC, other blockchains will be vulnerable to the same attacks, especially MITM attacks. There are ways to prevent hijacking after arrival at the nodes. I will elaborate on that in the next article. At this point of time, the pub key would be useless to an attacker due to the fact there is no quantum computer available now. Once a quantum computer of the right size is available, it becomes a problem. For quantum resistant blockchains this is differetn. MITM attacks and hijacking is useless to quantum resistant blockchains like QRL and Mochimo because these projects use quantum resistant keys.
submitted by QRCollector to CryptoTechnology [link] [comments]

I decided to post this here as I saw some questions on the QRL discord.

Is elliptic curve cryptography quantum resistant?
No. Using a quantum computer, Shor's algorithm can be used to break Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA). Meaning: they can derive the private key from the public key. So if they got your public key, they got your private key, and they can empty your funds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptic-curve_cryptography#Quantum_computing_attacks https://eprint.iacr.org/2017/598.pdf
Why do people say that BTC is quantum resistant, while they use elliptic curve cryptography? (Here comes the idea from that never reusing a private key from elliptic curve cryptography (and public key since they form a pair) would be quantum resistant.)
Ok, just gonna start with the basics here. Your address, where you have your coins stalled, is locked by your public- private key pair. See it as your e-mail address (public key) and your password (Private key). Many people got your email address, but only you have your password. If you got your address and your password, then you can access your mail and send emails (Transactions). Now if there would be a quantum computer, people could use that to calculate your password/ private key, if they have your email address/ public key.
What is the case with BTC: they don't show your public key anywhere, untill you make a transaction. So your public key is private untill you make a transaction. How do they do that while your funds must be registered on the ledger? Wel, they only show the Hash of your public key (A hash is an outcome of an equation. Usually one-way hash functions are used, where you can not derive the original input from the output. But everytime you use the same hash function on the same original input (For example IFUHE8392ISHF), you will always get the same output (For example G). That way you can have your coins on public key IFUHE8392ISHF, while on the chain, they are on G.) So your funds are registered on the blockchain on the "Hash" of the public key. The Hash of the public key is also your "email address" in this case. So you give "G" as your address to send BTC to.
By the way, in the early days you could use your actual public key as your address. And miners would receive coins on their public key, not on the hashed public key. That is why all the Satoshi funds are vulnerable to quantum attacks even though these addresses have never been used to make transactions from. These public keys are already public instead of hashed. Also certain hard forks have exposed the public keys of unused addresses. So it's really a false sense of security that most people hang on to in the first place.
But it's actually a false sense of security over all.
Since it is impossible to derive a public key from the Hash of a public key, your coins are safe for quantum computers as long as you don't make any transaction. Now here follows the biggest misconseption: Pretty much everyone will think, great, so BTC is quantum secure! It's not that simple. Here it is important to understand two things:
1 How is a transaction sent? The owner has the private key and the public key and uses that to log into the secured environment, the wallet. This can be online or offline. Once he is in his wallet, he states how much he wants to send and to what address.
When he sends the transaction, it will be broadcasted to the blockchain network. But before the actual transaction that will be sent, it is formed into a package, created by the wallet. This happens out of sight of the sender.
That package ends up carrying roughly the following info: The public key to point to the address where the funds will be coming from, the amount that will be transferred, the public key of the address the funds will be transferred to.
Then this package caries the most important thing: a signature, created by the wallet, derived from the private- public key combination. This signature proves to the miners that you are the rightfull owner and you can send funds from that public key.
So this package is then sent out of the secure wallet environment to multiple nodes. The nodes don’t need to trust the sender or establish the sender’s "identity." And because the transaction is signed and contains no confidential information, private keys, or credentials, it can be publicly broadcast using any underlying network transport that is convenient. As long as the transaction can reach a node that will propagate it into the network, it doesn’t matter how it is transported to the first node.
2 How is a transaction confirmed/ fullfilled and registered on the blockchain?
After the transaction is sent to the network, it is ready to be processed. The nodes have a bundle of transactions to verify and register on the next block. This is done during a period called the block time. In the case of BTC that is 10 minutes.
If you comprehend the information written above, you can see that there are two moments where you can actually see the public key, while the transaction is not fullfilled and registered on the blockchain yet.
1: during the time the transaction is sent from the sender to the nodes
2: during the time the nodes verify the transaction.
This paper describes how you could hijack a transaction and make a new transaction of your own, using someone elses address to send his coins to an address you own during moment 2: the time the nodes verify the transaction:
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1710.10377.pdf
"(Unprocessed transactions) After a transaction has been broadcast to the network, but before it is placed on the blockchain it is at risk from a quantum attack. If the secret key can be derived from the broadcast public key before the transaction is placed on the blockchain, then an attacker could use this secret key to broadcast a new transaction from the same address to his own address. If the attacker then ensures that this new transaction is placed on the blockchain first, then he can effectively steal all the bitcoin behind the original address."
So this means that practically, you can't call BTC a quantum secure blockchain. Because as soon as you will touch your coins and use them for payment, or send them to another address, you will have to make a transaction and you risk a quantum attack.
Why would Nexus be any differtent?
If you ask the wrong person they will tell you "Nexus uses a combination of the Skein and Keccak algorithms which are the 2 recognized quantum resistant algorithms (keccal is used by the NSA) so instead of sha-256, Nexus has SK-1024 making it much harder to break." Which would be the same as saying BTC is quantum resistant because they use a Hashing function to hash the private key as long as no transaction is made.
No, this is their sollid try to be quantum resistant: Nexus states it's different because they have instant transactions (So there wouldn't be a period during which time the nodes verify the transaction. This period would be instant.) Also they use a particular order in which the miners verify transactions: First-In-First-Out (FIFO) (So even if instant is not instant after all, and you would be able to catch a public key and derive the private key, you would n't be able to have your transaction signed before the original one. The original one is first in line, and will therefore be confirmed first. Also for some reason Nexus has standardized fees which are burned after a transaction. So if FIFO wouldn't do the trick you would not be able to use a higher fee to get prioritized and get an earlyer confirmation.
So, during during the time the nodes verify the transaction, you would not be able to hijack a transaction. GREAT, you say? Yes, great-ish. Because there is still moment # 1: during the time the transaction is sent from the sender to the nodes. This is where network based attacks could do the trick:
There are network based attacks that can be used to delay or prevent transactions to reach nodes. In the mean time the transactions can be hijacked before they reach the nodes. And thus one could hijack the non quantum secure public keys (they are openly included in sent signed transactions) who then can be used to derive privatekeys before the original transaction is made. So this means that even if Nexus has instant transactions in FIFO order, it is totally useless, because the public key would be obtained by the attacker before they reach the nodes. Conclusion: Nexus is Nnot quantum resistant. You simply can't be without using a post quantum signature scheme.
Performing a DDoS attack or BGP routing attacks or NSA Quantum Insert attacks on a peer to peer newtork would be hard. But when provided with an opportunitiy to steal billions, hackers would find a way. For example:
https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/researchers-explore-eclipse-attacks-ethereum-blockchain/
For BTC:
https://eprint.iacr.org/2015/263.pdf
"An eclipse attack is a network-level attack on a blockchain, where an attacker essentially takes control of the peer-to-peer network, obscuring a node’s view of the blockchain."
That is exactly the receipe for what you would need to create extra time to find public keys and derive private keys from them. Then you could sign transactions of your own and confirm them before the originals do.
By the way, yes this seems to be fixed now, but it most definately shows it's possible. And there are other creative options. Either you stop tranasctions from the base to get out, while the sender thinks they're sent, or you blind the network and catch transactions there. There are always options, and they will be exploited when billions are at stake. The keys can also be hijacked when a transaction is sent from the users device to the blockchain network using a MITM attack. The result is the same as for network based attacks, only now you don't mess with the network itself. These attacks make it possible to 1) retrieve the original public key that is included in the transaction message. 2) Stop or delay the transaction message to arrive at the blockchain network. So, using a quantum computer, you could hijack transactions and create forged transactions, which you then send to the nodes to be confirmed before the nodes even receive the original transaction. There is nothing you could change to the Nexus network to prevent this. The only thing they can do is implement a quantum resistant signature scheme. They plan to do this in the future, like any other serious blockchain project. Yet Nexus is the only of these future quantum resistant projects to prematurely claim to be quantum resistant. There is only one way to get quantum resistancy: POST QUANTUM SIGNATURE SCHEMES. All the rest is just a shitty shortcut that won't work in the end.
(If you use this info on BTC, you will find that the 10 minutes blocktime that is used to estimate when BTC will be vulnerable for quantum attacks, can actually be more then 10 minutes if you catch the public key before the nodes receive them. This makes BTC vulnerable sooner thatn the 10 min blocktime would make you think.)
By the way, Nexus using FIFO and standadrized fees which are burned after the transaction comes with some huge downsides:
Why are WOTS+ signatures (and by extension XMSS) more quantum resistant?
First of all, this is where the top notch mathematicians work their magic. Cryptography is mostly maths. As Jackalyst puts it talking about post quantum signature schemes: "Having papers written and cryptographers review and discuss it to nauseating levels might not be important for butler, but it's really important with signature schemes and other cryptocraphic methods, as they're highly technical in nature."
If you don't believe in math, think about Einstein using math predicting things most coudldn't even emagine, let alone measure back then.
Then there is implementing it the right way into your blockchain without leaving any backdoors open.
So why is WOTS+ and by extension XMSS quantum resistant? Because math papers say so. With WOTS it would even take a quantum computer too much time to derive a private key from a public key. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash-based_cryptography https://eprint.iacr.org/2011/484.pdf
What is WOTS+?
It's basiclally an optimized version of Lamport-signatures. WOTS+ (Winternitz one-time signature) is a hash-based, post-quantum signature scheme. So it's a post quantum signature scheme meant to be used once.
What are the risks of WOTS+?
Because each WOTS publishes some part of the private key, they rapidly become less secure as more signatures created by the same public/private key are published. The first signature won't have enough info to work with, but after two or three signatures you will be in trouble.
IOTA uses WOTS. Here's what the people over at the cryptography subreddit have to say about that:
https://www.reddit.com/crypto/comments/84c4ni/iota_signatures_private_keys_and_address_reuse/?utm_content=comments&utm_medium=user&utm_source=reddit&utm_name=u_QRCollector
With the article:
http://blog.lekkertech.net/blog/2018/03/07/iota-signatures/
Mochimo uses WOTS+. They kinda solved the problem: A transaction consists of a "Source Address", a "Destination Address" and a "Change Address". When you transact to a Destination Address, any remaining funds in your Source Address will move to the Change Address. To transact again, your Change Address then becomes your Source Address.
But what if someone already has your first address and is unaware of the fact you already send funds from that address? He might just send funds there. (I mean in a business environment this would make Mochimo highly impractical.) They need to solve that. Who knows, it's still a young project. But then again, for some reason they also use FIFO and fixed fees, so there I have the same objections as for Nexus.
How is XMSS different?
XMSS uses WOTS in a way that you can actually reuse your address. WOTS creates a quantum resistant one time signature and XMSS creates a tree of those signatures attached to one address so that the address can be reused for sending an asset.
submitted by QRCollector to QRL [link] [comments]

Four years of breaking HTTPS with BGP hijacking The Challenge of BGP Hijacking - AT&T ThreatTraq Bits Theo Baschak - BGP Hijacking Goes Mainstream BGP Hijack Explained Hijacking The Internet Using A Bgp Mitm Attack (Defcon 16)

Tuesday morning between the hours of 12:00 am and 2:00 am EST, internet traffic to MyEtherWallet was being redirected to servers in Russia. Any users who ignored the unsigned SSL certificate warning presented when visiting the site during this time were surprised and saddened to find their Ethereum wallet drained dry. According to infosec blog […] BGP hijacking attack (i.e., an adversary falsely announces a network prefix which is not owned by the adversary) looks pretty straightforward and easy to launch. Then, is there any way to mitigat... Note: BGP Hijack is actually very common on the Internet. While some of it is due to misconfiguration, others are done with malicious intent. See examples of high-profile BGP Hijacking incidents here, here, and here. So how can this attack affect cryptocurrencies specifically? Well, an attacker can effectively cut off a set of nodes (e.g ... Being the most successful and most popular cryptocurrency to date, bitcoin represents an attractive target for hackers and cybercriminals. Even though most attack vectors have been extensively analyzed, one essential attack vector has not been adequately tackled; attacking the cryptocurrency via means of the web’s routing infrastructure. The good news is that in most cases identifying the signs of BGP hijacking doesn’t call for a Master’s in internet protocol architecture. The first clue that something is amiss can be found by glancing at the https lock in your browser. It should be green, to denote that the certificate for the website you’re accessing is trusted. If it’s red or you’re presented with a warning ...

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Four years of breaking HTTPS with BGP hijacking

In early September 2016, a story was published about an Israeli DDoS-for-hire service, vDOS, which had been hacked, revealing “tens of thousands of paying customers and their (DDoS) targets ... AT&T Data Security Analysts discuss the challenges that the community faces when it comes to BGP. Originally recorded November 3rd, 2015. See the full episod... BGP - From Route Hijacking to RPKI: How Vulnerable is the Internet? - Duration: 24:44. ... Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing Attacks on Cryptocurrencies - Duration: 21:14. IEEE Symposium on Security and ... BGP - From Route Hijacking to RPKI: How Vulnerable is the Internet? - Duration: 24:44. ... Hijacking Bitcoin: Routing Attacks on Cryptocurrencies - Duration: 21:14. IEEE Symposium on Security and ... In past years talks Theo has talked extensively about BGP, and BGP hijacking. In 2018 we've seen several instances of where BGP hijacking has been combined with other methods to steal ...

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