Malicious actors realised that cryptocurrency users don’t pay much attention to these tiny amounts showing up in their wallet addresses. So they began “dusting” a large number of addresses by sending a few Satoshis to them. After dusting different addresses, the next step of a dusting attack involves a combined analysis of those addresses in an attempt to identify which ones belong to the same crypto wallet.
The goal is to eventually link the dusted addresses and wallets to their respective companies or individuals. If successful, the attackers may use this knowledge against their target, either through elaborated phishing attacks or cyber-extortion threats.
Dusting attacks were initially performed on the Bitcoin network, but they are also happening with Litecoin, BNB, and other cryptocurrencies. This is possible because most cryptocurrencies are running on top of a traceable and public blockchain.
Since dusting attacks rely on a combined analysis of multiple addresses, if a dust fund is not moved, attackers aren’t able to make the connections they need to “de-anonymise” the wallets. Samourai wallet already has the ability to automatically report suspicious transactions to their users. Despite the dust limit of 546 Satoshis, many dusting attacks today are well above it and are usually ranging from 1000 to 5000 Satoshis.