Bitcoin Mining Pools Targeted in Wave of DDOS Attacks

A number of bitcoin mining pools around the world have been hit by a recent string of DDOS attacks.

AccessTimeIconMar 12, 2015 at 6:54 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 11:36 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

AntPool, BW.com, NiceHash, CKPool and GHash.io are among a number of bitcoin mining pools and operations that have been hit by distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks in recent days.

The incidents appear to have begun in the first week of March. For example, on 11th March, AntPool owner Bitmain sent an email to customers disclosing the DDOS attacks and advising external pool users to set up failsafe pools in the event of an outage.

According to many of the companies affected by the incidents, those behind the attacks demanded payment in bitcoin in return for stopping the attacks.

alerted customers via its official blog to possible service disruptions owing to DDOS attacks, but did not say whether or not a ransom notice had been sent. Other pools took to Bitcoin Talk to warn users about the DDOS attacks.

operator CEX.io suggested that affected pools are seeing escalating DDOS threats, and said that the source of recent attacks on its pool came with increasing ransom demands.

A spokesperson for CEX.io told CoinDesk:

“The attack has been conducted by a hacker who has already DDOSed CEX.IO in October, 2014. Previously, he demanded 2 BTC for stopping the attack. This time, the payment has been raised to 5 to 10 BTC.”

At least one other mining pool, NiceHash, also reported sustained DDOS attacks last fall.

The alleged source of the DDOS attacks, operating under the name DD4BC, is believed to be behind a number of attacks on digital currency websites and services in the past year.

Incidents tied to DD4BC include an attack last year on the digital currency exchange Bitalo that resulted in the posting of a 100 BTC bounty. Following the recent DDOS threats, Bitmain contributed an additional 10 BTC to the bounty.

Disruptions likely to continue

Affected pools say they have moved to boost in-house defense mechanisms in light of the attacks, but some have warned that future outages may likely occur. Bitmain said that its other services, including the cloud mining platform HashNest, may also be affected in the coming days.

Operators that responded to press queries say they have refused to pay the ransoms and will continue keeping their pools open despite the risk of future DDOS attacks.

Some of the pools have conceded that resolving the situation will be difficult owing to the capabilities believed to be possessed by the source of the attacks.

Bitmain’s Yoshi Goto noted that the attacks appear to be systematic and acknowledged that it remains unclear when the situation will be completely resolved.

“It is a cat and mouse game now but we will do our best,” he said.

CoinDesk will continue monitoring the developments and post updates as they become available. 

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.