Problems with the Monero mixer

Monero has become increasingly attractive to users in recent times. Especially the mixing process, which should disguise the transactions, promised more anonymity. However, researchers have now discovered a security hole that corrupts the mixing process. The vulnerability in Monero allows us to find out at what time the amount of cryptocurrency changed hands.

The basic idea behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is to offer a decentralized payment system. A way to electronically transfer money without having to pay money to banks or other institutions. In addition, it should ideally be anonymous, transparent and secure – for all involved. Especially for users in the dark web, these options are attractive and last but not least again and again for negative headlines around crypto currencies. However, as the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin struggled more and more with the question of scaling and the anonymity status was not always secure, other crypto currencies soon moved into the twilight of the non-public. With a stronger focus on security and anonymity, Monero wanted to compete with Bitcoin. But the cryptocurrency is a bit shaky now.

Vulnerabilities in the Monero mixer

A research team from various universities found vulnerabilities in the system of Monero. So the mixing process is apparently not completely safe. However, this is an integral part of Moneros. In doing so, the actually issued coins are mixed with other transactions to conceal the process. However, as the research team found out now, 62% of these transactions can be decrypted by analysis. It is therefore possible for outsiders to understand details of transactions. With a timing analysis, it is also possible to track 90% of the transactions to the exact time. Since the entire transaction history of Monero is stored in the blockchain, this can lead to significant problems.

In their paper, the researchers are now making three proposals to address the problem. So they first propose a modification of the sampling process. Furthermore, one should not mix publicly aedonymized transactions in the mix processes. Finally, Monero users should be warned about the current security holes.

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