What Is a Flooder?

Flooders are computer programs that are used to flood network channels with (often) useless messages, thus making the network itself ineffective. Technically, there are two types of network flooding in general. There is controlled flooding and uncontrolled flooding. Thus, the technique itself is not malicious, but it can be used by spammers to cripple a targeted network, which makes it unavailable for users. And from this, we can see that flooders can be used by cybercriminals as spamming tools. But the application of flooders can be far broader. Since they can be used to overload target systems, cybercriminals can find many ways to employ these programs.

Types of Flooders

For instance, flooders can be used in DoS (Denial of Service) or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. These attacks are carried out when multiple connection requests are sent to a target computer, and the computer is not able to process all the requests. As a result, the system goes down, and users cannot access it anymore. Since flooders are technically used to overwhelm a system with traffic, it is quite natural that they can be employed in DoS attacks.

There are also separate types of flooders, such as email-flooder, IM-flooder, and SMS-flooder. These programs are programmed to flood specific networks, and the types of networks these flooders target are obvious from their names.

Email-flooder is designed to spam email channels to the point where either the channel or a certain inbox can no longer accept messages and goes offline. IM-flooders target instant messaging system channels (including Skype, MSN, Yahoo Pager, and so on). Most of the time, IM channels should be protected from IM-flooders. However, in some cases, a flooder can function as a Trojan (in the sense that it can be challenging to detect it), and so, some of the IM channels can still be affected by these threats. SMS-flooder is rather self-explanatory in that it is used to spam users with throngs of text messages.

Flooder Distribution and Prevention

All in all, flooders can be considered to be a type of spyware because they are mostly used as attack components when cybercriminals intend to attack a certain system or steal data. At the same time, due to the fact that flooders are not entirely independent, it might be hard to detect and remove them. The main symptoms of a flooder attack are similar to other malware or spyware infection symptoms. Those include slow PC performance, difficulties executing installed programs, random pop-ups, and unfamiliar system alerts. Therefore, when users need to remove a flooder, they clearly have to terminate all the other potential threats that are present in their system.

For that, it would be the most efficient to invest in a reliable anti-malware program. Since users clearly need to deal with a plethora of threats, it is best to leave to an automated security tool. At the same time, users should review their web browsing habits because flooders can reach their systems through software bundles, infected websites, and pirated software. So, if users tend to download programs illegally or if they often frequent unreliable websites, there is always a chance that they could accidentally download a flooder or any other type of spyware.