An Evaluation of the Security of the Bitcoin Peer-To-Peer Network

James Tapsell, Raja Naeem Akram, Konstantinos Markantonakis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution

8 Citations (Scopus)


Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency that relies on cryptography rather than trusted third parties such as central banks for its security. Underpinning the operation of the currency is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network that facilitates the execution of transactions by end users, as well as the transaction confirmation process known as bitcoin mining. The security of this P2P network is vital for the currency to function and subversion of the underlying network can lead to attacks on bitcoin users including theft of bitcoins, manipulation of the mining process and denial of service (DoS). As part of this paper the network protocol and bitcoin core software are analysed, with three bitcoin message exchanges (the connection handshake, GETHEADERS/HEADERS and MEMPOOL/INV) found to be potentially vulnerable to spoofing and use in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Possible solutions to the identified weaknesses and vulnerabilities are evaluated, such as the introduction of random nonces into network messages exchanges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 2018 IEEE Conference on Blockchain
PublisherIEEE Explore
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-7975-3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

8 Pages, 7 Figures, Conference

Published in: 2018 IEEE International Conference on Internet of Things (iThings) and IEEE Green Computing and Communications (GreenCom) and IEEE Cyber, Physical and Social Computing (CPSCom) and IEEE Smart Data (SmartData)


  • Bitcoin
  • Security
  • Analysis


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