For those new to the industry, often influenced by what they’ve heard on mainstream media, it is common to wonder can Bitcoin be hacked. In this article we’ll be exploring the fundamentals of the cryptocurrency to see what the chances are of the network undergoing an attack.
In order to observe the likelihood of an attack on the network, let’s first explore the technology behind it. Bitcoin is a peer to peer monetary payment system that is built on blockchain technology. Blockchain works in a decentralized manner by using a network of nodes (computers) owned by anyone, anywhere. Through protocols and constant communication, the nodes maintain the system and persistently verify that the records being circulated are accurate. These records refer to transactions taking place on the network that’s data is then stored in the blocks and added to the blockchain. If any illicit activity happens in these previous mentioned steps, the entire network will immediately pick it up and reject the action.
Can Bitcoin Be Hacked?
As the network is run on predetermined protocols, there is little to no room for error or mishaps. Each node on the network does what it is meant to do, and failure to conduct these tasks after a certain period of time (depending on the network, it could be 1 - 3 hours) results in being removed from the network. While you might have heard about Bitcoin being stolen through hacks, the Bitcoin network is yet to be hacked. These cases of crypto theft are as a result of exchanges and wallets being hacked, and not the network itself.
In order for the network to be hacked, the hacker would need to acquire 51% of the network. It is estimated that there are currently over 10,000 nodes, which means that the hacker would need to hack into 5,100 nodes around the world at the same time. Should a hacker achieve this, the rest of the nodes will be able to kick them off the network and recreate a protocol around them. Acquiring control of such a large amount of nodes would also require an extremely high amount of computing power, which is believed to cost in excess of $1 billion for a quick 10 minutes of control.
Gaining control of one block of transactions might not be the most lucrative endeavour considering the $1 billion it cost and the fact that they would now be exposed. Alternatively they might fork the blockchain and create a new one, but still they would need a large number of miners and nodes to follow suit which is unlikely given they just hacked the biggest cryptocurrency in existence.
Similar to a thief trying to gain access to one vault, hacking the Bitcoin network would be the equivalent of said thief needing to get into 5,100 vaults at the same time. Unlikely, or closer to impossible.
How To Ensure That Your Bitcoins Are Safe
The Bitcoin network has not been hacked since its inception in 2009, and as the price continues to grow the chances of it ever being hacked are miniscule. However, as we mentioned earlier, that doesn’t mean that your cryptocurrency is exempt from being stolen. Here are several steps to take to ensure that your Bitcoin remains your own:
- Use a reputable wallet. Ensure that the wallet you are using is from a reliable source and that you follow the recommended security steps. Oobit partnered with cyber security experts in order to provide a state of the art air gapped vault. Users on the platform can make use of this military grade wallet at any time.
- Only use reputable exchanges. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for sly marketing ploys of exchanges (some might even turn out to be scams).
- Enable 2FA. Two factor authentication is an extra layer of security that you can add to any account. It involves a third party app that generates time sensitive passwords that your wallet or trading platform will request prior to giving you access. Should a hacker get hold of your wallet details, if they cannot get through this extra layer of security they cannot access your account.
- Install antivirus software. Having up to date antivirus software ensures that no malicious actors can get access to any of your personal information.