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Teardrop attack

Teardrop attack

Teardrop attack definition

A teardrop attack was a type of cyberattack that targeted computer networks. It got its name because the attack ‘tears’ the data packets that are sent over the internet.

See also: packet capture, data packet

How the teardrop attack works

When you visit a website or send information online, the data is broken into small pieces (called packets) to make it easier to transmit. Usually, these packets are put back together when they reach their destination. However, in a teardrop attack, the attacker changes these packets to make them overlap or have incorrect sizes.

This alteration throws off the system receiving the data because it can’t put the packets back together properly. It leads to various problems and could potentially cause the system to freeze or crash completely.

History of the teardrop attack

Teardrop attacks emerged in the late 1990s. It impacted Windows 3.1x, Windows 95, and Windows NT systems, among others. Microsoft became aware of this issue when multiple cases of system failures were reported. It quickly responded by releasing a patch to fix this bug, which made its systems immune to this form of attack.

The incident highlighted the importance of regular system updates and patches. The teardrop attack has been more or less obsolete since then.

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