The anonymous payment network Monero (XMR) has suffered an attack in recent days. It was aimed at unmasking users and revealing details about their transactions.
Monero (XMR) victim of attack
It was one of the main developers of the project, Riccardo Spagni alias „FluffyPony“, who reported this attack on a Twitter thread published yesterday . He explains that it was a „Sybil“ attack, which aims specifically to unmask people using a P2P network . As Spagni points out, this attack could have been carried out on almost any cryptocurrency, but Monero is a prime target due to the anonymity it affords to its users. More specifically, it was about “ correlating transactions to the IP addresses of the nodes that transmit them“ .
The developer qualifies the attack as “ clumsy“ because it had no effect on the privacy mechanisms specific to Monero , ie ring signatures, masked addresses, etc. The developers of Monero had however expected a possible attack, which is why protection mechanisms have been put in place, such as the use of Tor and i2p, or Dandelion:
“Without going into technical considerations, Dandelion works by randomly“ broadcasting ”transactions. This means that for a Sybil attack to [work], it must be intercepted from the first node. “
Monero Network Attack Failed (XMR)
What failed in the attack on Monero was the scale. Spagni explains that the attacker couldn’t deploy a strategy big enough to really threaten the network . Also, it could not have targeted users who manage a node behind a VPN, or who use Tor / i2p with their nodes.
User funds were therefore not put at risk. It is not yet known who carried out this attack. The „de-anonymization“ of Monero is a hot topic, however. Last September, we learned that the US tax service had offered a reward of $ 625,000 to anyone who managed to update transactions in XMR.
The analysis firm Ciphertrace had also announced that it could track Monero transactions during the same period. For the moment, the community is rather dubious on this subject, Ciphertrace having so far not shown a convincing concrete example. Still, the noose is tightening around Monero. Altcoin has become the flagship of anonymous cryptocurrencies , in the face of regulators who view the development of non-traceable payment networks with a dim view.