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BT : Mitigating Blockchain Attacks

11 April 2018

U.S. Patent No. 9,807,106

British Telecom



Inventors: J. Daniel, G. Ducatel, & T. Dimitrakos

Issued : October 31, 2017

Priority : July 31, 2015



U.S. Patent No. 9,807,106 (“the ‘106 Patent”) seeks a front-end solution for improving detection of fraud on a blockchain.  The patent claims require monitoring and detection of “deviations,” but the gem of this patent lies in the simplicity of making more information readily available.


The ‘106 Patent seeks to mitigate Blockchain fraud, such as enabling detection of a majority attack.  This technology appears to operate within any suitable Blockchain environment, adding intermittent processing steps and making more information publicly available.


The ‘106 Patent adds a “security component” 202 into the Blockchain environment.

… the security component 202 generates a new data structure known as a profiler data structure (hereinafter, profiler) for storage in the Blockchain 206.  The profiler includes executable logic that is executed when the profiler is validated by a miner 204.  (col. 4, ll. 50-54)


This executable logic allows for the (intermittent) generation of identifiers on the Blockchain.

The profiler logic includes code to cause the generation of new transactions for storage in the blockchain known as profile transactions.  In particular, the profile transactions are generated by the profiler according to one or more rules specified in a transaction creation profile that is codified in the profiler logic.  The transaction creation profile … determines when profile transactions are to be generated by the profiler.  (col. 4, ll. 54-62)


The ‘106 Patent discloses the “Security Component” generating this “Profiler Data Structure.”  The Profiler Data Structure includes: (a) executable logic determining when the Profile Transaction is to be generated; and (b) what this Profile Transaction looks like. (col. 4, ll. 54-62).


The “Profile Transaction” is then added to the Blockchain, stored as part of the block of transactions.

Attack detection is performed by monitoring the Profile Transactions added to the Blockchain.



The security component 202 monitors the blockchain to ensure the generation of profile transactions complies with the transaction creation profile. Generation of profile transactions in compliance with the transaction generation profile indicates faithful validation and execution of the profiler by miners 204. However, where profile transactions do not appear in the blockchain 206 as expected then non-compliance is identified and a malicious event occurring in respect of the blockchain 206 is detected.   (col. 5, ll. 26-34)



Furthermore, upon detection, the ‘106 Patent notes mitigating actions:


Accordingly, the presence of malicious or erroneously operating miners 204 can be identified and mitigating or remedial action can be taken. Such action can include: generating an alert; communicating the non-compliance with the transaction creation profile to other entities operating with the blockchain 206, such as other computer systems relying on the blockchain 206; terminating access to the blockchain 206; protection of assets recorded in and dependent on the blockchain 206; and inspection of transactions occurring in the blockchain for further anomalous, erroneous and/or malicious occurrences.  (col. 5, ll. 41-51)


The ’106 Patent expressly notes a Blockchain environment suitable for its technology, Ethereum.  The proposed solution is making Profile Data Structure an Ethereum contract and Profile Transactions are Ethereum message transactions.


Thus, the ‘106 Patent offers a novel solution for making more information generally available within a Blockchain.  Analysis of that data can improve fraud detection and thus adding additional layers of integrity to distributed ledger solutions.

The ‘106 Patent was prosecuted by Patterson Thuente Pederson, P.A.

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