An attack that aims to uncover the identity of a wallet’s owner, information that can subsequently be used in phishing scams.
A dusting attack is a malicious act designed to expose the details of a cryptocurrency wallet’s
owner by issuing a large number of minuscule transactions
into a mass of private wallets.
It can be possible for an attacker to use the dust transaction
to track activity within the wallet sufficiently enough to obtain information about the owner’s identity. One such attack occurred in the summer of 2019 when hundreds of thousands of dust transactions were made within Litecoin wallets. Fortunately, the source of the attack was identified before any harm was done. They later came forward to state their intention was to advertise their mining pool
to the Litecoin community. Despite the harmless outcome, the incident did highlight the ease with which such attacks can be executed – particularly as attempts like the one on Litecoin can happen to any public blockchain
Generally, attackers have recognized that a large proportion of cryptocurrency users pay very little attention to the almost microscopic amounts of funds they hold in dust. Once they have dusted a wallet, they will then track data on the activity of the affected accounts in an attempt to uncover what organizations or individuals they are associated with. Hackers may then be able to use that information in phishing