New Bitcoin Core Release Prevents Miner DoS Attack

The Bitcoin Core development team released an important update yesterday that patches a crucial security vulnerability. Bitcoin is usually known as the most hackproof and secure blockchain, which makes any vulnerability in the network incredibly newsworthy.

Specifically, the patch addresses a potential opening for a denial of service attack within the Bitcoin Core wallet software.

The way the potential exploit could work was by allowing anyone who was capable of mining a sufficient number of proof of work blocks to crash Bitcoin Core nodes running software versions 0.14.0 to 0.16.2.

They made sure to emphasize, however, that stored funds were not at risk. They also warned that derivative software such as Knots are also affected and have their own specific patch for the issue.

That said, the developers made clear that if you only occasionally run Bitcoin Core, it is less urgent to patch, although it would obviously be safest to upgrade as soon as possible.

Upgrading will take between five minutes to half an hour dependent upon the processing power of a given users computer. In addition, users should note that the new wallet will have to redownload the entire blockchain and that downgrading to an older version after the fact is not supported.

The update also fixed a non-insignificant number of minor bugs. I strongly encourage our readers to check out the full instructions on the Github page for Bitcoin Core.

These bugs were:

1. Consensus: 14249 696b936 fixed crash bug with duplicate inputs within a transaction
2. RPC and other APIs: gives an error when an amount is needed but missing
3. Miscellaneous: Invalid flags error should be set to bitcoinconsensus_err
4. Documentation: #13844 11b9dbb correct the help output for -prune

The news could have come at a better time for Bitcoin. There has been mounting uncertainty about whether Bitcoin is trapped in a semi-permanent slump that could continue for years. Those who believe in the untapped power/capabilities of the Bitcoin network continue to wait for solutions like the lightning network to increase the utility of Bitcoin as a true peer to peer electronic cash.

Although this should not concern those who primarily view Bitcoin as a store of value, any whiff of exploits in the network’s inherent security could result in a massive sell-off as core assumptions are demolished. This analyst hopes this is a momentary blip in the promise of Bitcoin. I encourage our readers to reach out to members of the dev team directly for any additional clarifications.

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