As if the massive influx of users wasn’t enough to deal with, cryptocurrency exchanges have to deal with the constant threat of DDoS attacks.
As Bitcoin price continues to soar, hitting a new high $12,000, people are clamoring to get their hands on the lucrative virtual currency which places a huge strain on exchanges and their servers.
While they do their best to meet the needs of an ever-growing customer base, exchanges are also doing their best to fight against hackers who are looking to cripple their services and find vulnerabilities in an effort to steal Bitcoin.
The most common attack on exchange websites and their platforms is a DDoS attack.
In layman's terms, a DDoS is defined as a distributed denial-of-service attack. It is a cyber-attack on a service provider that looks to disrupt its service, usually by flooding the server with too many requests to handle.
By using multiple sources to attack a server, DDoS attacks can be difficult to stop because they are not started by a single source.
Timing couldn’t be worse
Bitcoin’s mega bull run has seen the biggest ever demand for the virtual currency play havoc on exchanges around the world.
As the various service providers did their best to upgrade systems to handle the increased traffic caused by frantic trading and news users as Bitcoin approached the $11,000 milestone a fortnight ago, two exchanges had to deal with cyber-attacks.
Bitfinex scheduled server maintenance and were hit by a DDOS attack at the same time.
Bitfinex is under DDoS attack. The DDoS attack started during earlier maintenance and has been ongoing since.— Bitfinex (@bitfinex) November 26, 2017
Meanwhile, Bittrex also detected a DDOS attack on their system.
DDOS attack was detected and being mitigated right now. Sorry for the inconvenience.— Bittrex (@BittrexExchange) November 24, 2017
These attacks are part and parcel of online life - as banking systems, online shopping platforms and other services providers are usual targets of DDoS attacks.
They happen often as well - and almost always at the most inopportune time.
Late in October, the third split from Bitcoin’s original Blockchain, Bitcoin Gold, was hit by a massive DDoS attack. Its launch was unceremoniously disrupted by over 10 mln requests a minute, rendering their site inaccessible.
In May, Poloniex exchange was taken down - with users outraged that they could not trade their virtual currency. Luckily no assets were stolen during the attack - but the panic that ensues is no laughing matter.
Ironically, Blockchain technology could be the very answer to stopping DDoS attacks.
By renting out bandwidth on a Blockchain, these attacks can be mitigated by the increased capacity to handle website traffic.