Updated: 07/06/2021 by Computer Hope
Close-up of a zombie's face.

A zombie may refer to any of the following:

1. Zombie describes a process doing nothing but using system resources. A zombie process often occurs when a previously running program abandons a process.

2. With chat or IRC, a zombie (ghost) refers to a user who lost connection but their user is still logged in to the chat server. Eventually, the zombie should time out.


If you get back on the server before your zombie times out, you cannot use your username until the zombie disconnects.

3. A zombie is a computer maliciously set up to do the work of another program or user. A zombie computer is used to help a malicious user perform a DoS (Denial of Service) or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service). For example, a typical person cannot DoS attack with a single computer because it can be easily blocked. However, it would be more difficult to block if the person had access to hundreds or thousands of zombie computers.

How to tell if my computer is a zombie

To determine if the computer is infected with malware, including software that makes your computer a zombie, run an antivirus or malware scan. Other signs could be high hard drive activity causing the computer to run slow, an increase in Internet usage causing the Internet to run slow, or an increase in bandwidth costs.

Chat terms, Computer slang, Network terms, Programming terms, Security terms, Zombie network