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Protecting the network from changes in system local time

We have already explored the attacks that can result in network failure in service or in reducing network bandwidth. Now it’s time to talk about a less known threat — an attack by changing the local network time, better known as timejacking.

Using timejacking, attackers find and exploit the system vulnerability in Bitcoin timestamp handling. During such an attack, a hacker changes the network time counter of the node and forces the node to accept an alternative blockchain. An attack will be successful if fraudsters add several fake Peer nodes with inaccurate timestamps to the network. However, this threat can be avoided if the system relies on the server time where the node is installed.

Attack through the change of system local time

Risk type: Operational.

Probability: Medium. An attacker may modify the system local time to disrupt the node synchronization.

Consequences: Low.

Risk Control: All key time parameters are measured in ticks by the nodes without any reference to the server local time.

Next time we will talk about methods of protecting the network from other types of risks, particularly, about the threat of unlimited growth of blockchain size.

You can always get more information from our White Paper and Yellow Paper, as well as ask the administrators of our Telegram channel.

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