Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks continue to rank as one of the most common cyber threats facing businesses. If your business is connected to the internet — which most businesses are — it’s susceptible to a DDoS attack. It’s a form of malicious spam. During a typical DDoS attack, your business’s network will be overwhelmed with traffic. As this traffic contests your business’s network and consumes all or most of its resources, it can take your business offline.

Some types of DDoS attacks, however, are designed specifically to consume memory. Known as fork bomb attacks, they are still a form of spam. Fork bomb attacks simply work by consuming memory until it takes the targeted network offline.

The Basics of a Fork Bomb Attack

A fork bomb attack is a type of DDoS attack that leverages the fork operation. Also known as a rabbit virus, it involves the replication of an existing process. The attacker will use the fork operation to manipulate a computer into replicating an existing process. As the computer continues to create copies of the process, it will consume memory.

Fork Bomb Attacks vs Traditional DDoS Attacks

While a fork bomb attack is considered a type of DDoS attack, it uses a different method of operation than traditional DDoS attacks. Traditional DDoS attacks consist of traffic spam. The attacker will spam the targeted network with internet traffic.

Fork bomb attacks consist of process spam. The attacker will issue commands on a targeted computer. These commands will force the computer to replicate an existing process. Eventually, the computer will become bogged down with an excessive number of commands, resulting in the consumption of its memory.

How a Fork Bomb Attack Can Affect Your Business

A fork bomb attack can have a disastrous impact on your business. As previously mentioned, fork bomb attacks target computers. During a fork bomb attack, the targeted computer may experience a myriad of problems.

You may not be able to run legitimate programs during a fork bomb attack. As the computer’s memory becomes depleted, it may fail to support other programs.

You may even lose data during a fork bomb attack. Most fork bomb attacks can be fixed by rebooting the targeted computer. If you have unsaved data on the computer, though, you may lose it. Before rebooting a targeted computer, you should try to save the data so that you don’t lose it.