Can Blockchain be Trusted in Industry 4.0? Study of a Novel Misleading Attack on Bitcoin

Ghader Ebrahimpour, Mohammad Sayad Haghighi, Mamoun Alazab

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    After Bitcoin's emergence, blockchain found its way to many industries, including Fintech, Energy, and Manufacturing. Blockchains consensus algorithms, including Nakamoto's, are mechanisms to probabilistically guarantee that a transaction is not undone after confirmation. This requires that no one's computational power exceeds 50% of the network power. However, recent attacks on blockchains have raised serious questions about their security and whether they can be trusted to be employed in critical infrastructure and Industry 4.0. In this paper, we introduce a new category of blockchain attacks which we call "Misleading-Attacks''. In this type of attack, a fraction of network power is mislead so that the attacker reaches her goal. The technique is most effective when miners are rational and algorithm-oriented, similar to machines/agents in future Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Moreover, this technique has the potential to be used in inventing new attacks, or can be used in combination with other known attacks. We first analyze a case in which the attacker uses misleading techniques to prevent her newly mined block from becoming orphan. We show that the proposed technique can push the attack success probability up by 16.42%. In a case study, we demonstrate how the technique promotes the success rate from 39% to 55.42%. Initiating the attack will be profitable if the attacker's power is more than 24% of the network power. By combining this novel technique with Bribery Attack, we show how the cost of Guaranteed Variable-Rate Bribing with Commitment (GVC) strategy can be drastically reduced.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8307-8315
    Number of pages9
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


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