[FoRK] bitcoins vs. alchemy

geege schuman geege4 at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 10:08:27 PST 2012


By Lucian Constantin
10 December 2012

Security researchers have identified a botnet controlled by its creators
over the Tor anonymity network. It's likely that other botnet operators
will adopt this approach, according to the team from vulnerability
assessment and penetration testing firm Rapid7.

The botnet is called Skynet and can be used to launch DDoS (distributed
denial-of-service) attacks, generate Bitcoins - a type of virtual currency
- using the processing power of graphics cards installed in infected
computers, download and execute arbitrary files or steal login credentials
for websites, including online banking ones.

However, what really makes this botnet stand out is that its command and
control (C&C) servers are only accessible from within the Tor anonymity
network using the Tor Hidden Service protocol.

Tor hidden services are most commonly Web servers, but can also be Internet
Relay Chat (IRC), Secure Shell (SSH) and other types of
servers. These services can only be accessed from inside the Tor network
through a random-looking hostname that ends in the .onion
pseudo-top-level domain.

On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 11:55 PM, Gordon Mohr <gojomo-forkxent at xavvy.com>wrote:

> On 12/6/12 7:56 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
>> --- On Thu, 12/6/12, Gordon Mohr <gojomo-forkxent at xavvy.com> wrote:
>>> The consensus ledger then agrees that your key can spend those
>>> bitcoins.
>>> Only if someone gets your private key can they pretend to be the
>>> owner of those previously-minted-on-schedule coins.
>>> - Gordon
>> That's the part that I don't get, even after reading.  When you do
>> get around to spending your bitcoins, do those earlier bitcoins have
>> their original purchasing power? Or do they only have the more recent
>> "devalued" purchasing power?
> There is no 'devaluation event'. There's a decrease in the reward credited
> when someone wins the race to supply the next canonical transaction-log
> block.
> The reward used to be 50 BTC per block; now it's 25 BTC per block. It will
> keep halving at regular intervals until it's less than the smallest
> representable value in the protocol.
> 1 BTC from a recent 25 BTC reward is exactly the same as 1 BTC from an
> earlier 50 BTC reward. Age of origin doesn't matter, and in normal use, the
> balances that originated in different block rewards get mixed together. (A
> subsequent use of that mixed balance just refers back to the immediately
> previous mixing-use. While it is *possible* to keep looking further back to
> precedent transactions, it's not *necessary*.)
> Unfortunately the terms and analogies used to describe Bitcoin often lead
> to confusion. They're not really 'created by computation' or even
> 'discovered', but disbursed on a reward schedule that's set by the system's
> 'technical constitution'. Who wins the hash-collision/block-creation
> competition only affects to whom the values are disbursed.
> Thinking about them as a tangible thing (or even a specific
> number/solution) can also lead you astray; they're just a credit, in a
> shared globally-readable ledger. Based on that consensus ledger, veryone
> agrees a particular public-key may reassign that balance to one or more
> other public-keys (by submitting a signed transaction).
> It's more like a bunch of swiss bank accounts in the peer-cloud, than it
> is some collection of digital rarities kept secure via confidentiality.
> (You just keep your signing keys -- your bank account passwords, if you
> will -- secret, so that no one else can issue signed transactions drawing
> down your balances.)
> Asked a different way, are all bitcoins of equal "value" all the
>> time, just as 1 "dollar" of fiat currency is always equal to any
>> other 1 "dollar" of that same fiat currency at any single point in
>> time? Or is there a different value between the earlier and more
>> recent.  Eg. Is there some distinction based on the different
>> "vintages" that are baked into the "revaluation" process such that at
>> the same instant in time 1 unit of bitcoin mined before a devaluation
>> event is "worth" more than that same size unit mined after.
> Yes, all bitcoin balances are denominated in the same
> mixable/interchangeable units. Vintage doesn't matter.
> 1 BTC (from any block/txn) + 1 BTC (from any other block/txn) = 2 BTC
> (There are some other subtleties, regarding balances that were recently
> awarded or transferred. So by convention some balances may not be
> immediately/preferentially spendable. But in such cases just waiting for
> the blockchain to get a bit longer over 1-20 hours makes the balances
> completely equal.)
> There seems to be an assumption in some folks' questions that there
>> is a difference in "value" by vintage, eg. related to/marked by each
>> "revaluation" stage.  I'm not sure, so I have to ask the dumb
>> question.
>> Or perhaps there is something else baked into the process such that
>> after a devaluation event the payout for a block is relatively
>> smaller than it would have been before the devaluation event to
>> offset the relative change in value due to the revaluation?
> Any assumptions involving a 'devaluation event' or 'revaluation vintages'
> would be based on misconceptions.
> Of course, the value of 1 BTC against other currencies floats around based
> on what people are willing to pay, but that's a different thing entirely.
> - Gordon
> Or do I just need to change my bifocals?  Or my meds.  Or both.
>> ...ken... ______________________________**_________________ FoRK
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