A Denial of Service (DoS) attack restricts legitimate users to avail websites or servers by overwhelming them with fake traffic. A sceptical thanks to the recent technological advancements, there are different types of such attacks. A simpler type of such an attack is a Ping Flood, which is also called ICMP Flood Attack.
Like any other denial of service attack, a ping flood or ICMP flood attack prevents users from accessing an endpoint by flooding it with ICMP echo requests, also called pings. It involves a single connection over the internet between the attacker and the target. The attacker floods the victim’s network with request packets where the network has to respond with an equal number of reply packets.
This request-response game keeps the network channel occupied for the entire duration of the ICMP attack, consuming significant bandwidth which results in a denial of service for a legitimate user.
Generally, a ping request tests the connectivity of two computers over a network by measuring the turnaround time between an ICMP request and its corresponding response. A network packet is sent during the request which is then acknowledged by the target, sending a response back to the host. During an attack, continuous requests are sent, which overwhelms the network making it subdued for users’ requests.
The attacker knows the IP address of the target to execute the ping flood. Based on the target and how its IP address is resolved, attacks can be categorized as below.
A successful ping flood sends the ICMP requests packets as fast as possible without waiting for replies. The attack is most successful when the attacker has a higher bandwidth than the victim. Since the sustenance of a ping flood depends on bandwidth, such type of attack is not that effective against a large network.
There are various ways to mitigate a ping flood which are listed below.
Ping floods or ICMP flood attack is a denial-of-service attack that restricts legitimate access to devices on a network. Such an attack works by overwhelming the victim device with ICMP request (ping) commands over the network, making it impossible for the victim to send ICMP responses in time. This attack can be launched on a one-to-one connection or through a router provided the target’s IP address is known. Flood attacks can be effectively mitigated by limiting the size of ping requests its acceptance rate.
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