[Bitcoin-development] Miners MiTM

Troy Benjegerdes hozer at hozed.org
Sat Aug 9 19:39:54 UTC 2014

On Fri, Aug 08, 2014 at 11:42:52AM +0200, Mike Hearn wrote:
> >
> > AFAIK the only protection is SSL + certificate validation on client side.
> > However certificate revocation and updates in miners are pain in the ass,
> > that's why majority of pools (mine including) don't want to play with
> > that...
> >
> Why would miners need updates? If they implement the standard SSL
> infrastructure you can change certificates and keys without needing to
> update miners.
> Besides, when it comes to financial services SSL is essential, I'm kind of
> surprised it wasn't already used everywhere. I wouldn't use an online bank
> that didn't support SSL, I would see it as a a sign of serious problems.
> Heck I wouldn't even use webmail that didn't support SSL these days.

Because turning on SSL gives pool operators a way to hack your miners.


Just because SSL is the answer for financial services regulated security
theatre, where fraud means you just roll-back the transaction, it does not
mean it is actually a good cryptographic solution.

There are far better mechanisms that could be implemented using ECDSA 
keys (aka bitcoin addresses) to authenticate both miners and pools, but
the problem is there zero economic incentive to do so. As long as the
BGP/SSL/zero-day-of-the-week man-in-the middle fraud cost is lower than the
engineering cost to do some real cryptography and code audits, we'll keep
having new 'security patches' every couple of months.

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