After the recent failure of Bitcoin exchange service Mt. Gox, which caused nearly half a million dollar in losses, the software driving Bitcoin’s network has been upgraded.
The open-source software rebranded as Bitcoin Core runs the core structure of the virtual currency’s transaction and authentication network. The update of such software was discussed for months since the slightest mistake could be costly because, according to Blockchain.info, the Bitcoin market circulates about $8 billion.
In February, some attackers exploited a security problem called “transaction malleability,” which allowed them to falsely report they haven’t received a Bitcoin payment. Now, according to the release notes of the software, the security loop has been fixed. Also, the newest version of the software changed the algorithm for handling DDoS attacks.
“Bitcoin Core, even the new release, never removes a transaction from memory unless it gets mined into a block, so if an attacker just floods the network with really cheap transactions they can use up a lot of RAM and network bandwidth for very little money, causing nodes to crash with out-of-memory errors, as well as screwing up block propagation.”
Bitcoin Core also has a new feature for payment requirements. Up to that time, dealers couldn’t attach a note labeling an invoice, and people also could not supply a refund address to a dealer. Core developer Mike Hearn believes the addition of payment protocol is the biggest carryout, explaining, “The Bitcoin address had no way to add features to that like refunds, security, privacy upgrades, recurring billing, all these great features that people have been talking about for a long time.”
Those running versions 0.7.2 or other previous version will need to have their Blockchain files re-indexed. The process will take between 30 minutes and several hours according to the development team.