Email Cluster Bomb Research

Who would want to perform such nasty attacks?
The attacker can be anybody with evil objectives, for example:

- A businessman who does not play fair and wants to harm his competitors' systems.

- A dishonest student who wants to bring down her professor's system so that grades cannot be assigned.

- A malicious hacker.

The Attack

We depend on the internet for data sharing, transactions, marketing or as a selling tool. Thus a reliable network infrastructure is becoming a necessity. Our research shows how a very simple tool can be abused to attack selected targets, bringing temporary but serious damages. The attacker uses an automated tool (program) to have large quantities of e-mails or SMS sent to the victim, which may cause damages to the infrastructure (service provider, phone network, etc). Furthermore, if cunningly performed, the attack cannot be traced back to the perpetrator. The picture below illustrates the two main phases of the attack. 

© 2004 Filippo Menczer, Markus Jakobsson, & The Trustees of Indiana University