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Bitcoin Privacy Security The Almighty Buck Technology

Third Party Trackers On Web Shops Can Identify Users Behind Bitcoin Transactions (helpnetsecurity.com) 63

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Help Net Security: More and more shopping websites accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment, but users should be aware that these transactions can be used to deanonymize them -- even if they are using blockchain anonymity techniques such as CoinJoin. Independent researcher Dillon Reisman and Steven Goldfeder, Harry Kalodner and Arvind Narayanan from Princeton University have demonstrated that third-party online tracking provides enough information to identify a transaction on the blockchain, link it to the user's cookie and, ultimately, to the user's real identity. "Based on tracking cookies, the transaction can be linked to the user's activities across the web. And based on well-known Bitcoin address clustering techniques, it can be linked to their other Bitcoin transactions," they noted. "We show that a small amount of additional information, namely that two (or more) transactions were made by the same entity, is sufficient to undo the effect of mixing. While such auxiliary information is available to many potential entities -- merchants, other counterparties such as websites that accept donations, intermediaries such as payment processors, and potentially network eavesdroppers -- web trackers are in the ideal position to carry out this attack," they pointed out.
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Third Party Trackers On Web Shops Can Identify Users Behind Bitcoin Transactions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2017 @08:27PM (#55060455)

    The only benefit of Bitcoin is that it's a pyramid scheme.

    • Anonymity has never been a target for bitcoins.
      In fact it's even the contrary, by design.

      The whole point of bitcoin is having no central authority. There's no single central "BitCoin Inc." company that handles the transactions and decide which are valid or not (as opposed to PayPal and all the controversies surrounding block funds and transactions - which were among the reasons of some of bitcoins popularity).

      The bitcoin protocol achieves that by distributing the "ledger of all transaction" - the blockchain

    • by JcMorin ( 930466 )
      Bitcoin does not have an issue with the protocol. I can't forge a transaction that will seal your balance like you could with a check. The "fraud" we see is more like, if I hack your computer or your phone, I can use that to sign a valid transaction without your consent... it's more a security issue than a protocol problem. The transactions are very secure, there are millions/billions moving every day.
  • Shipping Address? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 21, 2017 @08:32PM (#55060481)

    And they've really got you when you enter your name and shipping address.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's why I have all my deliveries sent to my neighbor and then I burglarize their house as soon as I get the delivery notification.

    • There seems to be this common misconception among the general population that Bitcoin is anonymous in the same way that cash is. What people don't realize is that it's pseudonymous, not anonymous, and that if you allow the veil to be lifted for even one transaction, legal or otherwise, then every transaction you make, legal or otherwise, can be traced back to you. Oh, and everyone's entire history of transactions is publicly accessible too, so if your pseudonym is pierced, anyone and everyone can see who yo

  • Unless you're buying illicit drugs or something, who cares? And if you are, shame on you! You should have been more discreet.
    • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @09:38PM (#55060741)

      Or you're resisting a totalitarian regime that might put you in prison or a labor camp for purchasing an unapproved ebook.

    • Let's see who cares:

      1) Gay people in countries where homosexuality is not protected.

      2) Anyone in a totalitarian government - even if you are a supporter, they can't be trusted.

      3) Pregnant teenagers that are terrified of their parents finding out (which they do when the web browser starts showing ads for diapers), before they decide what to do.

      4) Any one that doesn't like being teased, laughed at or insulted.

      Basically, privacy is an essential right, more important than the right to bear arms or the right for

  • We are just seeing a few of the cases here; eventually bitcoin usage will be individually identifiable in all cases, and governments and big corporations will be happy to look at your block chain and see all you have done.

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday August 21, 2017 @08:56PM (#55060577)
    From what I read in "Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley" [slashdot.org] by Antonio Garcia Martinez, Facebook takes its own data and combines it with third-party data to create profiles on every user, whether logged in or browsing anonymously. If Facebook can do that, everyone else can do the same thing.
  • Will they be able to use this to track down the authors of the DAO hack that prompted the split of Ether into Classic/Not Classic, or of any of the other recent mediatized multi-million dollar thefts?

  • ...it's completely not a feature. Quite the opposite. Everything is tracked, anyone can see what anyone else is doing. Associating wallets with real life people is not especially difficult.

    • Exactly, which is why knowledgeable users of Bitcoin do not claim anonymity as a feature of Bitcoin. Moreover, Bitcoin itself cannot claim anonymity, it simply has not the property of being anonymous. A red car has the property of being red; it cannot claim that it is blue or red.

      • A red car has the property of being red; it cannot claim that it is blue or red.

        But it can claim to be green, unless it's a Volkswagen...

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