Perimeter: A Network-Layer Attack on the Anonymity of Cryptocurrencies

Maria Apostolaki, Cedric Maire, Laurent Vanbever

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

7 Scopus citations


Cryptocurrencies are widely used today for anonymous transactions. Such currencies rely on a peer-to-peer network where users can broadcast transactions containing their pseudonyms and ask for approval. Previous research has shown that application-level eavesdroppers, meaning nodes connected to a large portion of the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network, are able to deanonymize multiple users by tracing back the source of transactions. Yet, such attacks are highly visible as the attacker needs to maintain thousands of outbound connections. Moreover, they can be mitigated by purely application-layer countermeasures. This paper presents a stealthier and harder-to-mitigate attack exploiting the interactions between the networking and application layers. Particularly, the adversary combines her access over Internet infrastructure with application-layer information to deanonymize transactions. We show that this attack, namely Perimeter, is practical in today’s Internet, achieves high accuracy in Bitcoin, and generalizes to encrypted cryptocurrencies e.g., Ethereum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFinancial Cryptography and Data Security - 25th International Conference, FC 2021, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsNikita Borisov, Claudia Diaz
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9783662643211
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event25th International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, FC 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Mar 1 2021Mar 5 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12674 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference25th International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, FC 2021
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


  • BGP
  • Bitcoin
  • Blockchain
  • Deanonymization
  • Ethereum
  • Network-layer attack
  • Routing attack


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