Could BitCoin be a decentralized password cracking system?
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
I am almost positive I will get a few angry e-mails or comments on this article for even questioning BitCoin mining as it has a loyal and somewhat rabid user base. I must preface this with a few statements:
1. I do not think BitCoin should be shut down. I am not like the imbecilic senators who claim BitCoin is only used by drug dealers and needs to be shut down immediately.
2. I do not think that BitCoin is being used to steal your information directly off your computer. I do not think it is a keylogger or spyware as that would be detected pretty quickly by such a large community.
3. I believe that the idea behind BitCoin is phenomenal and should be applauded and refined.
4. I am not stating the following as fact. I am putting this forth as food for thought and I believe it needs to be investigated further before any conclusions can be drawn.
I am not the only one questioning what exactly the “mining” operation is doing. A user on What Really Happened posed similar questions after a BitCoin user alleged that $500,000 worth of the digital currency was stolen from him.
The comment on WRH questions the timing of the massive growth in popularity of BitCoins and BitCoin mining and the recent major security breaches carried out by LulzSecurity.
Could these mining processes be used to crack highly encrypted passwords and encryption keys by linking together computers for unmatched processing power?
This would be distinct from the somewhat aged idea of a botnet which usually involves infecting computers around the world with trojans and other viruses in order to hijack their internet connection and processing power.
The thing that separates the BitCoin mining system from the idea of a botnet is that everyone is willingly participating and giving over their power and computer hardware in exchange for the incentive of digital currency.
A system can get a lot more power when people are willingly setting up multiple high end computers and graphics cards in their home devoted to BitCoin mining opposed to stealthily spreading viruses that hijack a small portion of the computer system without the user’s knowledge or consent.
The BitCoin community will likely be up in arms over claims like these, saying that there is no way that this could be used in that way, it is not a trojan or a virus, etc. This is very true, which is why I mention above it is a very distinct idea from systems used in the past. It also would not likely be used as botnets are in DDoS attacks.
This is why it seems hard for most people to even entertain the thought that this system could be used for less-than-admirable purposes.
I am hypothesizing that this system could be used to crack difficult encryptions just as graphics cards (GPUs) are utilized to crack passwords. Graphics cards can be leveraged to crack passwords around 2500% faster than previous systems.
Is it pure coincidence that the most efficient BitCoin mining is achieved through utilizing a high-end graphics card?
Again, there is no concrete and irrefutable evidence that this system is being used to crack passwords but the question is very real and is one that should not be ignored just because you believe in the idea of an alternative currency.
I emphatically support the idea of alternative debt-free currencies out of the control of the IRS and the private Federal Reserve, but I am skeptical of any system that is leveraging computers around the world to do mysterious tasks.
The fact is that these systems that seem idyllic tend to fall somewhat short of the mark. For instance, the much-lauded Tor anonymity network was hailed as the solution to internet privacy issues with an easy to use, free, and decentralized system.
The Tor project has also received over $1 million in funding from an “anonymous North American NGO” and has received funding from the Naval Research Laboratory, Google, the National Science Foundation, Human Rights Watch, “an anonymous North American ISP”, and DARPA among others.
To put it lightly, these types of decentralized P2P systems are usually easily exploited for nefarious purposes. What has the entire internet community believing that the programs sucking up their processing power and GPU are being used just to perform useless, nonsensical tasks?
I think that those who value the truth should investigate this further, especially those with a cybersecurity expertise as maybe someone with highly advanced programming knowledge reverse engineer exactly what the miner is doing.
Right now the BitCoin mining network could serve as the world’s most powerful password cracking system, allowing groups like LulzSec to easily hack into Sony systems, Senate.gov, etc. Is it actually serving this purpose or just sucking up power and computer resources for no reason whatsoever?