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I have been reading about Bitcoin routing attacks and I'm wondering how things differ with Ripple.

Quick summary of what I read:

Bitcoin uses a general gossip protocol which broadcasts all transactions to the network. Internet routing infrastructure is insecure and can easily be manipulated by attackers to intercept Bitcoin traffic. Bitcoin messages are exchanged in clear text and without integrity checks, any (malicious) third-party on the forwarding path can eavesdrop, drop, modify, inject, or delay Bitcoin messages. Bitcoin is extremely centralized from an Internet routing perspective. (Only 13 ASes host 30% of the entire network, while 50 ASes host 50% of the Bitcoin network.) Any malicious ISP with access to the Internet routing infrastructure can perform a routing attack by partitioning the Bitcoin network and isolating 50% of its mining power. Any ISP transiting Bitcoin traffic can delay the propagation of mined blocks (for up to 20 minutes), in a stealth way. Many examples of actual routing attacks that ended up diverting Bitcoin traffic have been found.

So, how does Ripple differ?  How are transactions broadcast? I'm assuming end-to-end encryption isn't used, because then validators wouldn't be able to see what they're validating?

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37 minutes ago, nikb said:

In Ripple server-to-server links are always encrypted; 

I didn't know that. Thanks!

25 minutes ago, Xi195 said:

I've been wondering about a China attack. 

It works like this: China shuts down exchanges and forces mining farms to attack the blockchain(s). ?

Me too. I've specifically wondered if a group with the most hashing power could mine in secret, only adding select transactions, and then BAM! They broadcast the chain and it's the valid one because it has the most most proof of work.

I am still uncertain about full (non-mining) bitcoin nodes. I think they've been oversold and might not be important at all.

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10 minutes ago, TiffanyHayden said:

Where are the check points for making sure transactions are valid? If everything is encrypted, how can it be known if the rules were followed?

Server-server links are encrypted, but the server decrypts the data to process it.

In other words, each server independently encrypts the data it sends down each link, and independently decrypts the data it receives from each link.

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Let's say you have three servers, A, B and C.

A connects to B. They negotiate an encryption key between them. It's used to encrypt messages sent over the A-B link.

A also connects to C. Again, they negotiate an encryption key between them. It's used to encrypt all data sent over the A-C link.

Now let's say a transaction is submitted to C by a client. C needs to send it to all its peers. It's only peer is A; remember C has no direct connection to B.

So, C encrypts the data with the key it shares with A and sends it to A.

A receives the encrypted message, decrypts it using the key it shares with C and processes the, now decrypted message.

It determines that this is a transaction and that it needs to send it to all its peers; it has two of those: B and C.

Since if received it from C, it doesn't have to send it there.

But it needs to send it to B. So it encrypts the message with the key it shares with B and sends it.

B decrypts it, processes it, etc.

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It is a reflection of how little most people understand about the inner workings of commonly used Internet tools that people are asking this...   it's also a reflection of how sophisticated the software has become that generally we don't need to know these things.

So my uneducated understanding of the generous inputs of Nik and David is that unlike the Bitcoin network, the Ripple Net is securely encrypted and has a better trust and consensus validation algorithm and is therefore protected from this type of attack.  I hope you have good success spreading your message Tiffany.


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