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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.
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.