Verifiable Delay Functions

The full article was originally published by HelloIOTA. Read the full article here.

Part of the IOTA Foundation research team that’s based in Berlin submitted a paper to arxiv this month. The topic is verifiable delay functions and their potential role in denial of service attacks in IoT environments.

Before we begin, let’s briefly meet the three authors. Vidal Attias has a mathematics and computer science background which helps inform his investigations of verifiable delay functions (VDF) for IOTA since 2019. Luigi Vigneri is a senior research scientist at IF leading the network team. Vassil Dimitrov holds a PhD in applied mathematics, has written a few books, and authored countless research papers. His three year anniversary with the IOTA Foundation will be this Fall.

Hopefully briefly meeting the team like this adds some personal intrigue as well as establishes credibility of what they have to say. This is a group of highly accomplished scholars and practitioners.


Background

A denial of service (DoS) attack occurs when a malicious actor launches an overwhelming amount of server requests to a server/network with the intention of flooding that server/network. If successful, the malicious actor carrying out the DoS attack will hinder the network enough to prevent legitimate users from accessing it. Think of DoS as spamming a website host.

You’ve probably heard the term “DDoS” since it’s the more common of the two. The difference between “DoS” vs “DDoS” simply refers to the origination of the attack – “DoS” coming from a single attacking device, “DDoS” coming from many attacking devices. DDoS can be thought of as being a sub-class of the DoS family.

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