A nuker is a hacker who carries out a nuke — a remote denial-of-service (DoS) attack aiming to bring a computer to a complete halt. Nukers attack by sending corrupt data packets to a computer to slow down and eventually stop it from working. Most modern computer systems are protected against this type of attack. However, nukers can still shut down systems or take down websites.
How nukers carry out attacks
- A nuker uses a modified ping utility (a tool used to test the reachability of an IP address).
- The attacker uses the ping command repeatedly, sending invalid or corrupted ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) packets to the target machine.
- If a machine runs on an older operating system, sending such packets will slow it down and eventually cause it to crash. The blue screen of death (BSOD) will appear in the case of Windows.
Nuke attack examples
- WinNuke, 1997. This attack exploited a vulnerability in Windows 95, Windows NT, and Windows 3.1x systems. The nuker behind the attack connected out-of-band data to the targeted machine, locking it and causing it to display the blue screen of death (BSOD). Microsoft has improved the system to prevent this type of DoS attack.