What is Ping of death (PoD) network attack

Ping of death (PoD) is a type of network attack categorized as denial-of-service (DoS) attack. In Ping of death (PoD) attack, a malicious attacker attacks a target machine to disrupt it services by sending malformed or oversized packets using a ping command. These malformed or oversized packets may cause the target machine to freeze or crash, thus causing its services disrupted.


Note that the size range permitted in Windows 10 is from 0 to 65,500 bytes of data in an ICMP Echo Request packet. If you try to send data size above 65,500, ping command will show an error message, as shown in below image.


The "Total Length" field in IPv4 header is a 16-bit field. The maximum possible value of a 16-bit binary number is 65,535. Sending an ICMP Echo Request packet larger than 65,535 bytes size in an IPv4 datagram, violates the IPv4 Protocol. When the target computer attempts to reassemble the fragments of the oversized malformed IPv4 datagrams containing the ICMP Echo Request message belongs to the ping command, memory overflow can happen and possibly the target machine will freeze or crash.

Happy news is that the chances of computers failing due to ping of death type of network attack in latest Operating Systems are rare, but can happen in an unpatched old Operating System.

Related Tutorials
Internet Control Message Protocol, ICMP, How ICMP Work, ICMP Header, ICMP Message Header
ICMP message types
ICMP Echo Request and Echo Reply messages
ICMP Destination Unreachable messages
ICMP Source Quench messages
ICMP Router Advertisement messages
ICMP Router Solicitation messages
ICMP Time Exceeded messages
ICMP Parameter Problem messages
ICMP Timestamp Request and Timestamp Reply messages
ICMP Photuris messages
Ping command tool
Ping command options
How to show remote computer name in ping command output
How to ping continuously
How to specify the number of packets sent in ping command
How to specify the size of data to send in ping command
Traceroute/tracert command tool
Tracert command options
Pathping command tool
Pathping command options
Difference between ping, traceroute/tracert and pathping