Reporting Nukes or Denial of Service Attacks

By Jolo - Jan 22, 1998

The original, most up to date version of this page is at <http://www.irchelp.org/irchelp/nuke/report.html>

How can I put a stop to nuking?

Are you one of those innocent people being nuked constantly, causing your computer to crash or disconnect? This is happening to increasing numbers of people on Internet Relay Chat (IRC), especially to Windows users. You’re probably asking, “What can I do to get back at these [expletive]?” or “What can IRC ops or #IRChelp helpers do to stop this?” Well the short answer is: not much. Before you get all upset, let me explain. We’re not trying to blow you off; we entirely empathize with your plight! That’s why we devote a lot of time to maintain the Denial of Service or “Nuke” Attacks page, where you can get the latest patches to defend against many of these attacks.

Why can’t you just kill or k-line (ban) the idiots?

Nuking is not part of IRC. These attacks are not from some IRC script or bot, nor do they usually abuse any IRC clients or servers (there are a few rare exceptions). Some lamer can nuke you, for example, while you’re online just reading emails, without either he or you even being on IRC! It then becomes very hard to prove that he was actually the person who nuked you, and even if you could prove it, an IRC op can’t punish somebody who isn’t even on IRC!

Can’t I use logs to prove somebody on IRC is nuking me?

Not really, again because nukes are not part of IRC. There are some tools for monitoring and logging nuke attempts, but they don’t catch all types of attacks, and even if they do, they will record just an IP address, such as “dialup-123.whatever.com”, which (1) doesn’t necessarily correspond to any IRC user, and (2) can be and often is “spoofed” or faked.

Consider a common scenario: A lamer /msg’s you a threat saying he is about to nuke you, and a moment later your machine crashes. Even if you caught all that in an IRC log, that’s still not proof. Playing devil’s advocate, maybe somebody else nuked you or your computer just crashed on its own by coincidence. It is very hard to actually prove a specific person attacked you. To make things worse, logs are just text files, so it’s trivially easy to fake them!

If IRC ops can’t help, how about the nuker’s or my own ISP?

This is the best way to go, since the attack is an outright, illegal (Title 18, United States Code) abuse of both the nuker’s and your own Internet Service Provider (ISP). Check out our IRC logging guide to see how to log the abuse, then send the logs to abuse@whatever.com or root@whatever.com. Some ISPs are very responsive to abuse and if they can prove he is guilty, they then fine him or shut down his account. Also send a copy to your own ISP and ask them to protect you better such as with a firewall to block incoming nukes. If they don’t help you, choose another provider that will. Why put up with bad service?

Unfortunately, by survival of the lamest, the people who are still nuking away gleefully are probably using one of the countless ISPs which just don’t care. Your emails will probably be ignored or, worse yet, the lamer may be his own administrator, so your complaint gets sent right to him, and he just mocks you and attacks you some more!

So what can I do?

Don’t despair though. Here’s what I recommend you do.

  1. Take a deep breath. This is just IRC, and you’re probably dealing with some stupid kid, it’s not worth getting an aneurysm over.
  2. Visit the Denial of Service or “Nuke” Attacks page, where you can learn more about these attacks and get the latest patches to defend yourself. The best revenge is when the lamer’s attacks bounce off you like pebbles off a tank.
  3. Like I said in the previous section, if you insist on complaining, do so to the nuker’s or your own ISP.
  4. Consider using a better operating system! Windows has just been a real nightmare the past year or so, with endless attacks and relatively slow, half-hearted responses from Microsoft. For the most part, MacOS and Linux users have been nuke-proof and just don’t understand what the big fuss is all about.
  5. Whatever you do, don’t ever try to nuke back. Not only is this illegal and immature, it’s probably futile anyway - only a real moron would nuke you without first making sure he himself is immune to nukes.

You’re just being mean. Why won’t you help me?

Sigh. I get that so often, which really saddens me after I just spent 20 minutes trying to help somebody who refuses to listen. I’m not holding anything back here, honest! You may find it helpful to check out these IRC hints to avoid the frustrations of takeovers and attacks. Otherwise please read this document over again carefully. Whatever you do, save your complaints. We’ve heard it all on #IRChelp, and like I’ve said several times already, there’s nothing we can do. Good luck getting yourself patched up so you don’t have to suffer any more! In the meantime, kindly direct your complaints to your ISP or Microsoft.


Copyright (C) 1996,1997 Joseph Lo and many others.