A dusting attack is an attack in which malicious actors attempt to break the privacy of cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) users. This attack is a relatively new phenomenon that has seen a gradual increase.
When we talk about “dust” in cryptocurrencies, it refers to an almost insignificant amount of coins. The amount is so tiny that often, users don’t even notice the transaction.
Since users don’t pay much attention to the minuscule dust amounts, malicious actors and hackers began “dusting,” in which they send a trace amount of crypto to thousands of wallet addresses.
Once they dust the addresses, hackers analyze the addresses and attempt to identify which addresses belong to the same cryptocurrency wallet.
Eventually, the malicious actors try and link the addresses and wallets to their respective owners and then use this knowledge to target them with phishing or cyber-extortion attacks.
Initially, dusting attacks occurred mainly on the Bitcoin network, but their frequency has gone up on other networks as well. Binance made a nice video about it:
Several individuals or organizations can perform dusting attacks. The usual targets of these malicious actors are individuals or companies with significant crypto holdings.
Users can also be physically targeted if they are based in high-risk areas. Government branches can also carry out dusting attacks to connect a person to a particular wallet address.
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