Deanonymizing Tor hidden service users through Bitcoin ...

Basics of Cluster Analysis

Technology serves a purpose. The reasons someone craves privacy vary greatly. Some people believe that one should only be identified when and if they choose to be. Other people may not want somebody to know how much money they hold. Some may be hiding their funds from a corrupt third party. The appearance of cryptocurrencies enabled people to become part of the global economy and no border, bank or political power can deny them their right to save, send and receive money worldwide whenever they desire to. However, due to this situation, some concerned persons have found themselves at a disadvantage and deanonymization technologies have been starting intensively to progress.
In January 2018, the Bitfury Group introduced a system enabling the analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain, compilation of clusters of wallets owned by one user and comparison of them with public information in the Internet when available. Given the right circumstances, the last point can reveal not only the interconnection of certain wallets but also the ownership of a particular person. This technology minimizes a number of errors during data clusterization. Actually, it means if not particularly elimination of Bitcoin anonymity, then at least its considerable decrease.
Fortunately, there are some basic methods to increase privacy on the Bitcoin network available right now. One such a straightforward solution is using TOR or other methods to hide IP addresses. Another basic solution to increase privacy is creating a new wallet for each transaction. A slightly more advanced method to gain privacy is the use of mixers. Be careful when using classic mixers, as their addresses can be deanonymized by means of cluster analysis. To ensure your activity stays untraceable a great deal of work needs to be done. Nevertheless, Bitcoin users are able to enjoy a certain level of privacy, depending on how much of their identity they reveal, which of the anonymizing techniques they apply, how many, and how often. - Bitcoin's anonymity is our business
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TxProbe: Discovering Bitcoin's Network Topology Using Orphan Transactions

Date: 2018-12-10
Author(s): Sergi Delgado-Segura, Surya Bakshi, Cristina Pérez-Solà, James Litton, Andrew Pachulski, Andrew Miller, Bobby Bhattacharjee

Link to Paper

Bitcoin relies on a peer-to-peer overlay network to broadcast transactions and blocks. From the viewpoint of network measurement, we would like to observe this topology so we can characterize its performance, fairness and robustness. However, this is difficult because Bitcoin is deliberately designed to hide its topology from onlookers. Knowledge of the topology is not in itself a vulnerability, although it could conceivably help an attacker performing targeted eclipse attacks or to deanonymize transaction senders. In this paper we present TxProbe, a novel technique for reconstructing the Bitcoin network topology. TxProbe makes use of peculiarities in how Bitcoin processes out of order, or "orphaned" transactions. We conducted experiments on Bitcoin testnet that suggest our technique reconstructs topology with precision and recall surpassing 90%. We also used TxProbe to take a snapshot of the Bitcoin testnet in just a few hours. TxProbe may be useful for future measurement campaigns of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency networks.

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Disobey 2018 - Tor de-anonymization - Juha Nurmi

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