Stealth Computing Abuses TCP Checksums

Bill Stewart bill.stewart at
Thu Aug 30 02:25:01 EDT 2001

A group of researchers at Notre Dame figured out how to use the
TCP Checksum calculations to get other computers to do number-crunching for 

	"Below, we present an implementation of a parasitic computer
	using the checksum function.  In order for this to occur,
	one needs to design a special message that coerces a target server
	into performing the desired computation."

The article has the amount of great mathematical depth you'd expect from 
CNN :-)
But it does say that the paper will be published in "Nature" this week.

It's a really cool hack, though not especially efficient for real work.

Of course, the Slashdot discussion follows typical structure -
there's an interesting technical suggestion (ICMP checksums may be usable
and are probably more efficient than TCP), some trolls and flamers,
the obligatory "Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of those!" comment,
and some speculation about the potential legalities and other uses for it.

The Cryptography Mailing List
Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to majordomo at

More information about the cryptography mailing list