The potential for Bitcoin’s blockchain to play host to malware will be discussed by Interpol researcher Christian Karam at this year’s Black Hat Asia conference, to be held in Singapore during March 24-27.
The event focuses on global IT security in what it says is a strictly vendor-neutral environment.
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Last year, researchers discovered traces of the “ancient relic” “Stoned” virus embedded in the blockchain. It is believed that only “snippets” of the malware were uploaded into the blockchain and that it posed no real threat. But its remnants were enough to trigger alarms in Microsoft Security Essentials, which would detect the bitcoin client as a threat and delete it entirely.
There is “open space,” such as metadata, where data can be stored on the blockchain. This can have meaningful applications for innovations like decentralized exchange and smart contracts but, according to Karam, may open the door to potential threats.
Malware can potentially be hosted on the blockchain either by hosting it directly or by referencing it with “cascaded pointers.” One question he will explore is if malware can survive “eternally” inside blockchain transactions. The issue will be explored based on learnings from previous malware hosting and deployment models. Potential solutions will also be discussed.