Could someone launch a DDOS attack in a smart contract? (Probably not.)

A question from a reader:

Could someone launch a ddos attack in a smart contract? (aimed at some outside website, you could probably ddos the ethereum blockchain just by making a lot of transactions).

The usual relation of cryptocurrency to DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks is when someone threatens you with a DDOS unless you send them bitcoins. But could you do this automatically?

As we know, the huge problem with any real world application of smart contracts is the “oracle problem”: how to get real world data into the program without requiring human judgement.

Getting data out of a smart contract platform is less conceptually difficult, but certainly isn’t a feature of, say, Ethereum. You could build a separate system to DDOS people and have it act on the state of a particular Ethereum smart contract. But I know of no examples, and there isn’t a way to access, let alone hammer, an arbitrary site from the Ethereum blockchain as-is. (And you’d be spending ether on “gas” for the smart contract to be able to run to do this.)

You could buy a DDOS from an existing “website stress test vendor” using cryptocurrency, of course. Though even they don’t like cryptocurrency, greatly preferring PayPal (until they get kicked off). (Research, Krebs’ summary.)

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