(also cyberattack, DoS attack)
Smurf attack definition
A smurf attack is a certain type of denial-of-service (DoS) attack. Hackers conduct DoS attacks to shut down networks, machines, servers, devices, and other similar software and hardware components. They can do the same with a smurf attack. A smurf attack involves flooding servers with Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets. After the attackers flood the servers, the targeted server tries to respond to the flood, leading to even bigger server overloads. Thus, in the end, the server shuts down and is unable to function. A smurf attack is easy to conduct, and it can even be done via phone if the attacker wants to shut down an organization’s phone network.
Smurf attack prevention
Secure your server infrastructure. Servers are the most likely targets of smurf and other DoS attacks. So, they need to be secured in order to prevent a smurf attack. This can be done using anti-spam, a VPN, firewalls, content filters, and adding other security layers to the infrastructure.
Ignore ICMP echo requests. Another way to prevent smurf attacks is by setting up routers, servers, and other devices to ignore ICMP echo requests because smurf attacks are made by flooding servers with ICMP packets.
Look out for smurf attack warning signs. Some of the signs indicating that any type of DoS attack has happened or is happening include huge spikes in traffic, multiple requests coming from the same IP address at the same time, and if servers are responding with 503 errors caused by service outages.