A smurf attack refers to a malicious network attack on a computer with the end goal of rendering the victim's computer unusable. An attacker does this attack by creating a spoof, or virtual copy, of a victim's IP address and broadcasts that IP address by attaching the victim's IP address to a broadcast IP address. Once the victim's IP address is broadcasted, most networked devices respond to the IP address by sending a data packet back to the source from which the broadcast came. Therefore, if an attacker is broadcasting a victim's IP address, all of the replies can become so overwhelming that they render a victim's computer inert.
Due to an increase in the quality and innovation of network security technology, the frequency of smurf attacks has decreased significantly. Users are now able to implement virtually invulnerable safeguards against threats of this kind.