A smurf attack is a type of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that uses “Smurf” malware. A smurf attack makes the network of a victim unusable by flooding it with requests, as in other types of DDoS attacks.
Imagine an elevator that holds more power than its maximum.
Undoubtedly, overloading it would cause it to stop working correctly. And the worst thing that can happen here is that it’s going to crash.
Similarly, a smurf attack results in too many requests, paralyzing and even crashing the server of a business for hours or even days, depending on its cyber resilience or capacity, despite being DDoSed, to react and continue running.
We first need to look at the more mainstream type of this attack to understand what makes a smurf attack unique:
The internet consists of servers containing information that we all want to access, client computers such as the one you are currently using, and network equipment that enables them to communicate with each other.
Servers have no infinite capacity to serve client devices with data. They have small bandwidth, power for processing, and speed for IO. This implies that the 101st user is refused service if a server can only handle 100 users at a time.
That’s generally not a concern these days. The bulk of hosting facilities are now provided by large data centers. Modern cloud technology enables rapid scaling up of the server space. Also, servers are more powerful than ever, which makes it very unlikely you will be refused service.
In a large number of client computers, a DDoS attack rope lets all of them attempt to access the same service at the same time. Typically, this artificial demand is of the size of what on the worst day will be likely.
You can only bring a bunch of computers together, in theory, and launch a DDOS. However, you can only have a successful DDoS attack in operation by infecting the machines of other people.
How to Do a Smurf Attack :
As every DDoS attack, the end result of a smurf attack is the same. However, the true genius component of the equation is how it accomplishes and sustains the attack. It takes advantage of a networking technology feature called the Internal Control Message Protocol or ICMP.
Smurf attack malware generates network packets with IP addresses of spoofed origin. The packet has an ICMP message inside it, calling for a ping back to be sent by any system receiving it. The pings begin to take place in an endless loop when coupled with a function known as IP broadcasting, contributing to what is essentially the network equivalent of a brain seizure.
This self-propagating network packet storm is exponentially rising and then obstructing any piece of network hardware, not just servers that are unable to keep up. Since you don’t need as many bots in your botnet to do it, it’s also a powerful force multiplier.
Preventions from Smurf Attacks :
One of the main risks of smurf attacks is that between the malware infection and the actual attack, there is typically a long pause. That’s because the attackers in their military need to build up enough compromised computers to pull off a successful assault.
This is why there are also rootkits built into several smurf assault trojans. This helps the creator of malware to open up a way for commands to be sent and received by the system. It is therefore very critical, as you would expect, that computers have effective malware packages on them that, in the first place, prevent Smurf attack software from running.
Efficient control of network traffic often needs to be done to ensure that any weird activity is easily detected and dealt with. Organizations can also be supported to purchase elastic bandwidth and server power capable of dealing with short-term traffic bursts triggered by malicious attacks before they can be stopped.
Servers should also be distributed and redundant in multiple physical data centers so that there is no denial of service if one goes down in a Smurf attack.
Ultimately, however, it’s up to the network engineers to incorporate security into the network itself. It is possible to filter out malicious traffic with modern firewalls and edge network equipment. They can be programmed to ignore the types of corrupted packets that would first cause a packet flood.