<security> A worm that spread rapidly on 2003-01-25, infecting 75,000 computers. The SQL Slammer Worm exploited a buffer overflow bug in Microsoft's flagship SQL Server and Desktop Engine database products. A patch for the bug had been available for six months but many servers had not been patched, including many at Microsoft.
SQL Slammer is also known as slammer worm, W32.SQLExp.Worm, DDOS.SQLP1434.A, the Sapphire Worm, SQL_HEL, W32/SQLSlammer and Helkern.
The worm is remarkable in that it is only 376 bytes long (and so fits inside a single packet) and because it infected servers over UDP. The small size and use of a connectionless protocol allowed an infected host to attempt to infect hundreds of other hosts per second. This created a rapid rise in Internet traffic which crashed some routers. Other routers, noticing these failures, generated yet more traffic telling other routers to update their routing tables. This in turn caused yet more routers to fail and be restarted, causing even more traffic. The combined effect of all the worm transmissions, router crashes and routing table updates was a noticeable slow-down in normal Internet traffic. Ironically, the SQL Slammer worm was small enough to get through when normal traffic could not.
Last updated: 2014-03-01
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