The IT Law Wiki


Data packet[]

The payload

is the portion of the packet that contains the actual content of the data. This information is similar to the content within a postal package, such as a new football or baseball glove.[1]


A payload is

[t]he specific part of a virus that performs the action desired by the attacker. Conventional payloads erase data, display messages, or crash or freeze systems. A more sophisticated payload delivered via a Trojan horse could allow an attacker to bypass normal security measures and access the target information system.[2]
most often a "malware" program that is designed to take hostile action against the system to which it has been delivered. In general, these hostile actions can be anything that could be done by an adversary that has programmed the system.[3]


A payload is "an assembled group of subsystems designed to perform a specified mission in space."[4]


A payload is

[a]ll elements of a remotely piloted aircraft that are not necessary for flight but are carried for the purpose of fulfilling specific mission objectives.[5]


A payload "includes the devices the satellite needs to perform its mission."[6]


A payload is the essential data that is being carried within a packet or other transmission unit. The payload does not include the overhead data required to get the packet to its destination.

Overview (Telecommunications)[]

What constitutes the payload may depend on the point-of-view. To a communications layer that needs some of the overhead data to do its job, the payload is sometimes considered to include the part of the overhead data that this layer handles. However, in more general usage, the payload is the bits that get delivered to the end user at the destination.


See also[]