A teardrop attack was a cyberattack type that affected computer networks. It obtained its name since the attack ‘tears’ data packets shared on the web.

How the Teardrop Attack Works

When you access a site or share data over the internet, the data is broken down into small bits (packets) to facilitate transmission. Typically, the packets are reassembled after reaching their destination. However, in a teardrop attack, the attacker alters these packets, causing them to overlap or have the wrong sizes.

This modification disrupts the system receiving the data since it can no longer successfully place the packets back together. It results in several issues and may cause the system to freeze or crash completely.

History of the Teardrop Attack

Teardrop attacks occurred in the late 1990s. They affected Windows NT systems, Windows 95, Windows 3.1x, and other versions. Microsoft detected this problem after receiving reports of numerous system failures. It responded quickly by releasing a patch that fixed the bug, rendering its systems immune to this attack.

This occurrence emphasized the essence of constant system patches and updates. Luckily, the teardrop attack has become more or less obsolete since then.