Geek Trivia

If You’re The Victim Of A Smurf Attack, You’re The Victim Of What?

Theft of Virtual Goods
Credit Card Fraud
Phishing Tactics
A Denial-of-Service Attack
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Answer: A Denial-of-Service Attack

A Smurf Attack is a specific form of denial-of-service attack in which a large volume of ICMP packets with the victim’s spoofed IP address swapped in place of the senders IP address are broadcast over a computer network using one of the IP broadcast addresses available on that network.

As a result, any ICMP request (like a ping request) sent via Smurf Attack to the IP broadcast address of the network would prompt all the computers within that broadcast address block to response, effectively burying the unsuspecting IP address (and attached computer equipment) of the targeted user under a mountain of misdirected responses, rendering their connection unusable until the deluge of replies stops.

Smurf Attacks were extremely easy to execute prior to the late 1990s as most networks were poorly configured and unable to resist abuse in such a fashion. Since then hosts and routers have been routinely configured not to respond to ICMP requests addressed on the IP broadcast level or to forward requests they receive.