How does a Crypto dust attack occur?


A frequent annoyance in the cryptocurrency ecosystem is a dust attack. However there are times when this annoyance can turn into a real concern if the severity of the dust attack is high. Let’s deep dive into this article in order to understand what is a dust attack.

Dust attack

The Crypto “dust attack” is a phenomenon wherein a crypto as low as trace amounts is sent to hundreds of wallets on the network. The objective behind this generosity is to track all such addresses on the network. After such an attack when data about such addresses has been accumulated the attackers try to unmask or deanalyse such addresses. Such dust is found on a number of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin or Dogecoin.

Uses of dust attacks

  • Hackers exploit dust attacks in order to decrypt addresses in possession of large swathes of cryptocurrencies.
  • Apart from hackers and criminals various individuals such as law enforcement officers use dust attacks in order to track down criminals who deal in contraband and various illegal stuff through the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
  • Various analytical firms have used these dust attacks in order to curate various market analysis factors about any cryptocurrency.
  • Dusting attacks may be incorporated in order to understand the efficiency or bandwidth of the network. Such attacks may be done in a planned manner in order to ideate a hypothesis on the efficiency and functionality of the network.

An interesting fact associated with various dust attacks is that anyone can analyse a dust attack. There are chances that the individual carrying out the dust attack and the individual analysing the dust attack can be completely different.

Therefore a crypto dust attack can never be considered as an attack with a malicious intent because there might be a probability that such attacks might be used by various government agencies or analytics firms. Apart from that sometimes the dust is spread out among individuals in order to advertise a particular message in tandem with an email blast.

How to secure yourself from a dust and attack

In order to secure your address from a dust attack you should make use of a hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallet in order to increase the difficulty for new addresses to trace your wallet.

Apart from that a majority of wallets have a specific function ie. Unspent transaction outputs (UTXO’s) which allows the user to mark any asset on your wallet on “Do not spend” category. Hence if you never indulge in any transaction by getting associated with the dust you can never be tracked.