A major flaw in the underlying software of the Bitcoin network that could have been close to destroying the cryptocurrency has been discovered.
Bitcoin is said to be the gold standard for cryptocurrencies, however, even the OG blockchain-based money has some potentially disastrous flaws that are lurking in the software that supports it.
The problem existed since March of last year. It meant that someone could have easily exploited the network by influencing the way that the bitcoin transactions are confirmed.
Anyone who is mining the cryptocurrency would have been able to carry out the said attack, even though it would have cost them approximately 12.5 bitcoins to perform the act successfully, a total of around £64,000.
The attack could have been executed by anyone who are conducting bitcoin mining. Bitcoin mining is a process of generating new units of the cryptocurrency after solving complex mathematical puzzles.
On Github, an anonymous developer who disclosed the said bug wrote: “A denial-of-service vulnerability (CVE-2018-17144) exploitable by miners has been discovered in Bitcoin Core versions 0.14.0 up to 0.16.2.”
The developer added: “It is recommended to upgrade any of the vulnerable versions to 0.16.3 as soon as possible.”
Last Tuesday, the developers of Bitcoin Core, the software that powers the Bitcoin blockchain effectively, released a new version that patched the vulnerability that enabled a malicious user to crash the network. The crash would have made everyone’s digital coins effectively useless. The bug has been described as “very scary,” “major,” and one of the “top three or four” most serious bugs that were ever discovered in Bitcoin.
The core developers of Bitcoin was able to solve the issue before any hackers could make use of the bug, which was only publicly revealed after it was fixed privately.
In a tweet, Cobra Bitcoin stated: “A very scary bug in Bitcoin Core has just been fixed which could have crashed a huge chunk of the Bitcoin network if exploited by any rogue miners.”
However, miners of bitcoin are still required to download the software update that fixed the bug, otherwise, huge parts of the network would continue to be vulnerable to a crash, which would effectively be taking Bitcoin down.