What is a Ping Flood Attack or ICMP Flood Attack?

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How Does a Ping Flood Attack Work?

Ping flood, which is also known as ICMP flood, is a common DoS technique in which an attacker floods a victim's computer with ICMP echo requests, or pings, in order to bring it down.

The attack includes sending a large number of request packets to the victim's network, with the expectation that the network will respond with an equal number of reply packets. Another option is to use specialized tools or scripts, such as hping and scapy, to bring down a target with ICMP requests. This puts a burden on the network's incoming and outgoing channels, consuming substantial bandwidth and resulting in a denial of service.

Ping requests are typically used to evaluate the connectivity of two computers by measuring the round-trip time between sending an ICMP echo request and receiving an ICMP echo reply. They are, nevertheless, utilized to flood a target network with data packets during an assault.

The ability to carry out a ping flood is contingent on the attackers knowing the target's IP address. As a result, attacks can be divided into three groups based on the target and how its IP address is resolved.

A targeted local revealed ping flood attacks a single computer on a local network. To discover a computer's IP address, an attacker must have physical access to it. The target computer would be taken down if the attack was successful.

According to a router, ping flood is a type of attack that targets routers to disrupt connections between computers on a network. It relies on the attacker knowing a local router's internal IP address. If the assault is successful, all computers linked to the router will be shut down.

Before launching an assault, a blind ping flood requires utilizing external software to discover the IP address of the target computer or router.

What Makes ICMP Flood DDoS Attacks Risky?

Because ICMP flood DDoS attacks flood the targeted device's network connections with fraudulent traffic, legitimate requests cannot pass. This scenario increases the risk of DoS or DDoS in the case of a more coordinated attack. The fact that attackers would fake a phony IP address to hide the sending device in the past makes this volumetric attack vector considerably riskier.

Today's sophisticated botnet attacks (particularly IoT-based bots) don't bother concealing the bot's IP address. Instead, they flood the target server with an extensive network of unspoofable bots.

How to Mitigate the Risk of Ping Flooding

A ping flood can be mitigated in several methods listed below.

  • The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), an internet layer protocol used by network devices to communicate, is employed in the ping flood assault. The best way to stop a ping flood is to disable the affected device's ICMP capabilities. However, this will prevent all ICMP-based activities such as ping queries, traceroute requests, and other network-related tasks.

  • By limiting pings on your firewall, you may avoid ping floods from outside your network. Internal attacks from within your network, on the other hand, are unaffected by firewall configurations.

  • The number of requests and the rate they are received will be limited by a comprehensive mitigation mechanism against ICMP floods.

How to Protect Yourself from Ping Flood Attacks?

Protect yourself from ping flood attacks by using the following security steps. You may defend yourself against ping flood attacks in three ways −

Configure the system that requires security to be more secure

Disabling the ICMP capabilities on the victim's device is probably the most straightforward technique to guard against ping flood attacks. This strategy can provide quick help in the case of an attack or as a preventative measure to reduce the likelihood of attacks.

Furthermore, the router and firewall can be set up to identify and filter malicious network traffic. DDoS assaults can also be mitigated by using load balancing and rate-limiting strategies.

To counteract DDoS attacks, use a cloud-based solution

Servers are offered in internationally spread data centers from significant suppliers like Cloudflare. You can send your data traffic through these data centers if you own your website. This will provide you with a lot more bandwidth to assist you in dealing with DDoS attacks. Data flow is also filtered by integrated systems such as firewalls, load balancers, and rate limiters.

To defend the system, use specialized hardware

Only large-scale businesses can benefit from using specialized hardware to secure their systems. These devices filter or block malicious network traffic and combine the functions of a firewall, load balancer, and rate limiter.


Ping floods, also known as ICMP flood attacks, are denial-of-service attack that prevents legitimate users from accessing devices on a network. The victim device is bombarded with ICMP request (ping) commands through the web, making it impossible for the victim to respond promptly. If the target's IP address is known, this attack can be executed on a one-to-one connection or over a router. Limiting the number of ping requests and their acceptance rate can successfully counter flood assaults.

Updated on 02-Jun-2022 10:02:06