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What is a dust attack and what can you do if your crypto wallet was dusted?

Key Points

  1. What it is: jargon
  2. Tools that do it: #ledger #electrum 

Dust attack is an attack on privacy that happens on the bitcoin blockchain.

A potentially malicious actor is sends the smallest possible transaction amount to large amount of addresses and presumably runs a bot that watches from which addresses the coins were moved and where.

Following the movements of the dust may eventually lead to a transaction that will be identifiable in real life, such as an online order or a p2p cash sale. It can also be used to link different wallets owned by the same person.

The counteraction to do if your wallet “got dusted” is called coin control.

September 2020 Dust Attack

There was a dust attack going on in September 2020. The dust amount was 547 satoshis and the attack posed as an advertisement for a website memo dot sv:

Can you prevent a dust attack?

No.

Anyone can send bitcoin to any address.

What to do if your wallet was dusted

You have the following options:

  • Spend the dust by sending it to a miner
  • Spend the non-dust by sending it to a new wallet

Generally, spending everything but the dust is a better option. More in comments under Reddit.

Dusted address on a Ledger wallet

If the address that got dusted was in a wallet on any Ledger device, or if you have a spare Ledger wallet to use, your solution is easy.

Ledger Live supports coin control in the dialog you go through when sending crypto out. You simply click on “coin control” and then unselect the dust.

If you use change addresses, transaction of any size will move all your non-dusted coins from the dusted address.

Get a Ledger Wallet today

Dusted address on a basic crypto wallet

If the address that got dusted was under a basic crypto wallet like Exodus, Jaxx or Blockchain.com, you will have to use the Electrum wallet.

Electrum is a bitcoin wallet that supports advanced features such as what’s called coin control. That means you can decide which incoming transaction you want to spend an which not, even if they were both sent to the same address.

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