Recently Discovered Bitcoin Vulnerability Is Even Worse Than Previously Thought

Siamak Masnavi

On Monday (17 September 2018), a vulnerability (known as CVE-2018-17144) in Bitcoin Core (Bitcoin's reference implementation), which had existed since version 0.14.0 of Bitcoin Core (released on 8 March 2017), was reported to developers working on Bitcoin Core as well as some projects supporting other cryptocurrencies that use this code (such as "Bitcoin ABC" and "Bitcoin Unlimited", the two leading full node implementations of the Bitcoin Cash protocol). This vulnerability was reported anonymously as a "Denial of Service" (DoS) bug. 

As covered by CryptoGlobe, Bitcoin Core developers came up with a fix for this bug the next day (18 September 2018), and released it as part of Bitcoin Core versions 0.16.3 and 0.17.0rc4. They urged anyone running vulnerable versions of Bitcoin Core (i.e. 0.14.0 up to and including 0.16.2) to upgrade to version 0.16.3 as soon as possible.

However, shortly after fixing the vulnerability, the Bitcoin Core developers discovered that the bug in the code causing the DoS problem was even more serious than previously thought because it also created a second problem: the same vulnerability could be exploited to inflate the Bitcoin supply (i.e. create new bitcoins, beyond the 21 million limit placed by Satoshi, which would have the effect of devaluing existing bitcoins). 

This meant that the code fix for the DoS bug would also take care of the supply inflation bug. But, probably in order not to cause panic, and to encourage quick upgrades, the developers decided to only disclose the DoS bug.

On September 20th, after a post in a public forum revealed the full impact of the vulnerability, the Bitcoin Core Developers decide to come clean and publish a full disclosure report for CVE-2018-17144.

Over half of the Bitcoin hashrate has upgraded to patched nodes (running version 0.16.3). The developers say that although they are "unaware of any attempts to exploit this vulnerability", it is still critical that "affected users upgrade and apply the latest patches to ensure no possibility of large reorganizations, mining of invalid blocks, or acceptance of invalid transactions occurs."

Featured Image Credit: Photo via "Crypto360" via Flickr.com; licensed via "CC BY 2.0"

Bitcoin’s Price Surges Nearly 10% to Surpass $8,000 as Crypto Market Adds $20 Billion

The price of bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, has recently surpassed the $8,000 mark in a move some believe is extremely bullish and could help it go up to $20,000. What’s behind the rise is unclear, although a counter trading indicator pointed towards it.

At press time, BTC is trading at $8,055 after rising 10% in the last 24-hour period, according to CryptoCompare data. The flagship cryptocurrency’s market cap is now of $142 billion, and its recovery came merely days after it had a $1,000 ‘flash crash’ caused by a 5,000 BTC sell order.

Bitcoin's price performance in the last 24-hour period

It’s currently unclear what’s behind the cryptocurrency’s rise, although some have pointed out tensions between the United States and China may be helping, as bitcoinj’s price has been moving up when trading volumes are higher on Asian exchanges.

The U.S. recently hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, with China retaliating with higher levies on billions of dollars worth of U.S. products. These developments severely affected the stock market, and could be seeing investors hedge with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Notably, some could have predicted BTC would surpass the $8,000 mark this weekend as CNBC’s Fast Money Twitter account recently posted a bearish tweet showing a head and shoulders pattern, which implied a drop was imminent.

In the cryptocurrency space CNBC’s tweets are seen as a counter trading indicator, as often bitcoin does the exact opposite of what the financial news outlet’s social media accounts predict will happen.

The cryptocurrency’s price rise also comes as search interest for it hits a 14-month high, according to Google Trends data. This means that search interest for BTC hasn’t been this high since February of last year, when it was trading between $8,000 and $11,000.

Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at eToro, has noted the cryptocurrency’s price performance is bullish, and that there could be “virtually no major levels of resistance until $20,000.”

Recently, the co-founder and CEO of digital asset exchange Gemini, Tyler Winklevoss, called bitcoin “gold 2.0.” Facebook has also shown it’s getting more serious about blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and payments, which could be heightening interest in the space.

Bob Iaccino, an experience fun manager and veteran trader, has earlier this week argued that the growth of BTC’s layer-two scaling solution, the Lightning Network (LN), could also be supporting the cryptocurrency’s rally.

Altcoins Follow Bitcoin’s Rally

Available data shows that most altcoins have followed the flagship cryptocurrency’s rally, with most being up well over 3% in the last 24-hour period. Top altcoins like Ethereum’s ether, litecoin, XRP, and Zcash are all up by over 7%, with ether rising nearly 10% to trade at $258.

Interestingly Bitcoin Cash, a cryptocurrency that has recently seen a hacker take advantage of an upgrade to get miners to mine empty blocks and that has seen a mining pool have over 51% of its hashrate for a brief period, has risen over 16% in the same period. BCH is currently trading at $415.

Dash and Cosmos are other cryptocurrencies that have risen over 10% in said period. Overall the rally has seen the crypto market add over $20 billion.