What Does Nuker Mean?

A nuker is a type of hacker whose purpose is to send corrupt data to a computer and ultimately bring it to a complete halt. A modified ping utility is used over and over during the computer nuking process, during which invalid Internet Control Message Protocol packets are sent. Nukers can corrupt computers through instant messaging programs, where infected messages can be sent repeatedly through macros or AppleScript. Most modern systems are protected against this type of attack, but Nukers can still take down a website by taking advantage of weak ports and using a denial of service (DoS) attack to shut down systems.


Techopedia Explains Nuker

One of the first and most damaging computer nuke attacks was called WinNuke. This affected Microsoft 95, Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 3.1x systems. The nuker responsible for this damaging occurrence connected out-of-band data to a targeted computer, thus locking it and causing it to display the “blue screen of death’, which resulted in a computer crash. Microsoft developed a patch to prevent this harmful type of DoS attack for any similar types of attacks on Microsoft systems. In the WinNuke attack, ports 135 to 139 and port 445 were affected.

The United States enacted the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act of 1996, which increased prison time for convicted nukers. Other countries have adopted similar laws. Consumers who are concerned about DoS attacks should contact their Internet service provider for assistance in combating these types of attacks.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.