A fork bomb is a UNIX system attack, commonly written in one line of C or shell code, that "explodes" by recursively spawning copies of itself, until it eats all the process table entries and brings the system down. It’s been known about for a long time, and it would be expected that modern Linux distributions would be immune to this kind of attack. Think again.

I wrote up a very simple bourne shell script on my work machine, which runs Mandrake Linux, and executed it under my non-privileged account. Within seconds, the machine was brought to its knees -- totally crippled and unusable. I stared at my screen in disbelief for a few moments, totally stunned with what had just happened.

The author of the article tested on Mandrake, Red Hat, Gentoo and other distributions and found the problem to still exist.

[15:16:53] <@darks> but I mean, I could have killed ur box
[15:17:04] <+IronBar> no, you couldn't have.
[15:17:08] <@darks> wanna bet ?
[15:17:27] <@darks> forkbomb it