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Definition: smurf attack

An assault on a network that floods it with excessive messages in order to impede normal traffic. It is accomplished by sending ping requests (ICMP echo requests) to a broadcast address on the target network or an intermediate network. The return address is spoofed to the victim's address. Since a broadcast address is picked up by all nodes on the subnet, it functions like an amplifier, generating hundreds of responses from one request and eventually causing a traffic overload. See denial-of-service attack, flooding and ICMP.