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Cryptogambling / Protect Your Crypto Assets: How to Guard Against Dusting Attacks

Protect Your Crypto Assets: How to Guard Against Dusting Attacks

Publish Date: 17/04/2023

As much as making a couple of dollars by trading assets on various or desired cryptocurrency wallets sounds interesting, you need to watch out for the risks involved. One of the latest threats you may have heard of is the “crypto dusting” attack.

This might sound like a sci-fi movie, but I promise, it is a real danger you must be aware of.

Over the past few years, attacks on blockchain and cryptocurrencies have gradually escalated. Millions of dollars have been lost as a result of vulnerabilities on the Nomad Bridge and Solana wallets just this month.

Criminals utilize a variety of tactics to take advantage of initiatives and deceive users. A dusting attack is one of these strategies.

What are Dusting Attacks in Crypto?

The term “dusting attacks” refers to the tiny quantities of cryptocurrency that are called dust. The phrase “dust” in relation to Bitcoin often denotes a few hundred satoshis. Remember that one satoshi is equivalent to 0.00000001 BTC.

Crypto dust attacks happen when a hacker sends a tiny amount of cryptocurrency, like a few satoshis to a lot of wallets. Although the sum may appear inconsequential, it is a cunning means of tracking and identifying users.

Therefore, with the intention of “un-masking” or “de-anonymizing,” these addresses are tracked using this method. Most public blockchains, including those for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies, include dust.

How Does a Crypto Dusting Attack Work?

In order for a dust attack to have a significant impact, it is necessary for the owner of the wallet to blend the crypto dust with other funds present in the same wallet and utilize it for other transactions.

If you add a small amount of cryptocurrency to other transactions, it’s possible for the recipient to accidentally send the excess cryptocurrency to an off-blockchain centralized organization. This is because the centralized platform needs to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations, and as a result, they hold onto the victim’s personal data.

This puts the victim at risk of being targeted by phishing, cyberextortion threats, blackmailing, and other types of off-blockchain hacks that aim to steal sensitive information. So, it’s important to be careful when sending cryptocurrency to ensure that you don’t inadvertently expose yourself to these types of risks.

The dependence of malicious actors lies in the unawareness of cryptocurrency users regarding the reception of small amounts of cryptocurrencies in their wallet addresses.

Are all Dust Attacks, Crypto Scams?

Not all dust attacks are scam related.

Not all cryptocurrency dust sent to a crypto wallet’s address is fraudulent. Other uses for dusting exist outside of hacking.

Dusting sometimes can be put to good use by governments to link a specific cryptocurrency address to a user or organization which allows the government to track criminal activities such as laundering, tax evasion, etc.

In order to assess the durability of the software as well as other capabilities like processing of transactions speed, network scalability, and safety measures, developers can use dusting to carry out their software’s endurance tests. This can aid in locating potential problems and weaknesses in the software, enabling programmers to enhance both its efficiency and safety.

In addition, Dust is frequently given to cryptocurrency traders as a result of trades, and it is not regarded as an attack. Numerous exchanges give users the option of exchanging these modest quantities of cryptocurrency for their native tokens, which can be used in future transactions, or for another digital currency with a low transaction cost.

How Can You Identify Dust Attacks?

Verifying if any harmful dusting withdrawals took place should be simple because the transaction for the dusting attack will show up in a wallet’s transaction log.

After sending the dust along with other money, the victim received notification of the transaction along with a virus link and an offer that would tempt them into engaging in it and unwittingly giving them access to their account. A dusting attack involving the sending of tiny quantities of BNB (BNB) to several wallets occurred on Binance in October 2020.

Also, simply refrain from clicking any links or opening any files that come from sources you don’t recognize. Do not overlook any tiny sums of cryptocurrency that you could get in your wallet. Transfer it to a different wallet which you don’t use for your regular transactions instead.

How can you Protect your Asset?

Using a hierarchical-deterministic (HD) wallet is a useful strategy for protecting against the damaging consequences of dusting attacks. These wallets are made to generate a new public key for each transaction, making sure that regardless of whether you participate in a transaction for a tiny bit of dust, it will come from a different address and cannot be linked to you.

While other options available might be using a VPN or proxy network on your computer to help hide your identity from prying eyes,  You may convert dust in your wallet into some exchangers’ local currency, such as BNB.

Finally, new and improved wallets frequently come with reliable defences against these threats. Wallets frequently mark questionable transactions from bad actors as dust.

Final Thought

While dusting attacks in crypto might seem like a small thing, it is a malicious attempt that can cost you a lot of money. To combat these attacks, simple actions like vigilance and knowledge can be very effective.

However, more sophisticated techniques can also be applied to safeguard the money in your wallet. It is imperative that users of cryptocurrencies should be mindful of additional online dangers besides deanonymizing and dusting attacks. Ransomware, for example, is a virus that prevents a user or organization from accessing their digital assets unless a certain amount of money is paid.

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