ARCHIVED: What is a zombie?
The word "zombie" has three possible definitions in the context of computing:
- An insecure computer that's compromised by a worm or
Trojan horse and used in either distributed denial of
service (DDoS) attacks or spamming sessions. Compromised computers
usually have a bot installed that listens to commands on
IRC channels; when a command is given, all the compromised
computers begin the DDoS attack or spam propagation. This
protects the author of the spam/DDoS attack, since those attacks can
only be traced back to the compromised computer, not the author.
This usage derives from the typical meaning of "zombie" as an animated corpse with no independent will that mindlessly follows the commands of a controller. "Zombied" computers, under the control of some remote cracker or hacker, execute DDoS or spamming sessions with no input from the legitimate owner/user.
- A child process that has finished its task but hasn't been
terminated by its parent process. In other words, it's part of a
program (or maybe even an entire program) that is hanging or locked
- A very old, very out-of-date web site, usually abandoned by the owner. This is archaic usage; such sites are more typically referred to as "orphans" or "ghost sites".
Last modified on January 03, 2013.