The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) – Part 1


There are many security tools (such as those of Firewalls, Network Intrusion Devices, Routers, etc.) out there that can alert a Network Administrator of any penetrations that are occurring.  But these devices, for the most part, can only detect those Cyberthreats that are coming from the external environment.

In addition to this, what is also needed is some sort of detection system that can provide alerts of any unknown or suspicious activity that is occurring from within the network segments.

This is where the role of the Internet Control Message Protocol (also known as the “ICMP”) comes into play.

A Review of the Internet Protocol Suite

The ICMP operates in what is also known as the “Internet Protocol Suite”.  This model consists of the following four layers:

1)     The Application Layer:

This is the layer in which applications communicate with other applications which reside on the same host, or even on an entirely different host. The higher-level network protocols are also used and supported at this layer, which include the following:

  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP);
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP);
  • Secure Shell (SSH);
  • Hyper Text Transport Protocol (HTTP).

2)     The Transport Layer:

This is the layer in which network communications take place between different hosts that reside on the same network segment (such as those found on a Local Area Network [LAN]) or even an entirely different one (such as those found on a Wide Area Network [WAN]).  The most widely used communications protocol used in this layer is the Transmission Control Protocol (also known as the “TCP”).

3)     The Internet Layer:

This layer “defines and establishes” the actual Internet as we know it today.  The primary network protocol that is used here is the Internet Protocol (also known as the “IP”). It also defines the actual IP address.

4)     The Link Layer:

This layer connects of all of the of the LANs that are located nearby each other.

A Definition of ICMP

A technical definition of the ICMP is as follows:

“It is an error-reporting protocol [that is used] to generate error messages to the source IP address when network problems prevent delivery of IP packets. ICMP creates and sends messages to the source IP address indicating that a gateway to the Internet, service or host cannot be reached for packet delivery.”

Put in simpler terms, the Primary Domain Controller (also known as the “PDC”). In response, the PDC is attempting to make available the shared resources (such as files and applications) that resides in its database.

These shared resources will be transmitted via the Data Packets to the client computers.  But if for some reason or another, a shared resource cannot reach its ultimate destination, then an error message is transmitted back to the PDC notifying that the delivery of the Data Packets cannot be completed and are returning back to it.

This error reporting functionality is made available specifically by the ICMP.  Thus, the ICMP itself does not transmit the Data Packets. It only transmits the relevant error message as to why they cannot be delivered to the final destination.  In other words, it is not a Transport Protocol that transmits information and data.

The ICMP is heavily by Network Administrators in order to pinpoint and troubleshoot any Internet connections from within the network infrastructure, by making use of diagnostic tools such as “Ping” and “Traceroute”.

There are many reasons why Data Packets cannot reach their final destination:

  • There could be an issue with a Router or Hub in forwarding them on to the next point;
  • There could be a “hiccup” in the network that is interfering with the normal flow of Data Packets;
  • There could be a disconnection that exists somewhere in the Network Infrastructure, or there might even be a Cyberattack underway.

The ICMP is used in both Internet Protocols, which are:

  • The Internet Protocol version 4 (also known as “IPv4”);
  • The Internet Protocol version 6 (also known as the “IPv6”).


Our next blog will examine the specific error messages that the ICMP transmits, and the security vulnerabilities that are posed to them.


1)     https://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/ICMP

32 thoughts on “The Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) – Part 1

  1. A very enlightening article on ICMP. Be Structured have revolutionized the IT services by providing the information we need to secure our business from cyber threats.

  2. This is an amazing article about Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). Los Angeles IT Services and Be Structured are really making IT services impressive for us. Thanks

  3. I have never heard of internet control message protocol but its okay for companies a detection system that can provide alerts of any suspicious activity that is occurring from within the network…Los Angeles MSP should enlighten companies more on the importance of ( ICMP)

  4. You are a computer company of a kind, doing your very best to educate on most things that are so new to me. I have just learned about the internet control message protocol. This post is very educative.

  5. It’s very interesting to get to know all these details, I can see why Be Structurated has become in a succesfull IT Support company.

  6. Los Angeles Computer Company, your articles are cool for me. With your articles that I have read, I think I will love to venture into IT Services business. Thanks for your good works.

  7. ICMP is a very vital IT service if one is to be able to identify errors when sending data through a network. Thanks a lot for the write-up.

  8. I think IT consulting can help an organization to decide on how best to implement an ICMP. There’s so much to consider when doing it.

  9. An ICMP protocol is one of those services that cannot be handled by IT outsourcing. It has to be done within the confines of the organization.

  10. A good IT support structure will always have a robust ICMP protocol to handle all errors. It’s an absolutely vital tool.

  11. An ICMP protocol is very necessary for any computer company. Being able to identify errors and their causes during data transmission can be really helpful.

  12. So in other words it is like a primary defense that sends out an alarm to the cavalry such as the IT Support once it gets bypassed? I am interpreting it as such because lets face it tech terms can be confusing.

  13. Internet Control Message Protocol is good for IT Consulting Company to know because they must be able to detect any Penetration from anywhere on time

  14. I can really see how constant surveillance and error reports would help with network efficiency. It’s good to have an IT Support program that you can trust, that will have access to all database files and shared resources. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Its very important for any computer company to embrace ICMP in order not to expose themselves to cyber threats that are always coming up. Great information that you have provided here.

  16. It expedient for all IT support companies to know about this error-reporting protocol to generate error messages to the source IP address when network problems prevent delivery of IP packets. ICMP for me is a most know protocol.

  17. If you are finding it difficult to trust any Los Angeles IT Service company to trust with your internet control message protocol,I recommend BEstructured technology to you. You will get the best service.

  18. Companies that are unaware on how to implement ICMP can always partake in some IT consulting to be more informed. The tech sector is changing so fast and it gets difficult to keep up with all the changes sometimes.

  19. IT outsourcing can really help with ICMP optimization and implementation. The article is very informative and helpful 🙂

  20. Part of the IT services that can be provided by a good MSP includes ICMP incorporation. It can help a lot with network efficiency.

  21. Having a robust ICMP lsystem in place can be very beneficial for any computer company. Errors in network transmission can be identified and rectified easily.

  22. This can really increase an Internet security greatly. May it be a company or at home. I just hope that it will be easy enough for a common folk like me to understand.

  23. When it comes to IT Consulting for Los Angeles, you need to consider some things. Internet security is definitely a must. A lot of tricky people use the internet to scam people and such which makes it quite scary.

  24. This is the first time I heard about ICMP. I want to know more about this Internet security service in the next post.

  25. Thanks for listing all the layers and highlighting the importance of an ICMP system. I think all IT groups should model themselves after this Los Angeles MSP.

  26. It is a wise thing to have Internet security by internet protocol in place. God to know today that ICMP operates in what is also known as theInternet Protocol Suite never knew this.

  27. This is very vital information especially for an IT support team. There is so much to learn from this with regards to ICMP.

  28. Proper IT consulting can always help an organization to learn about the intricacies of ICMP implementation. Thanks a lot for sharing this informative and well researched article.

  29. ICMP implementation is one of the very important IT services that every company should have. It can help optimize network operations greatly.

  30. A forward thinking computer company will always have an ICMP protocol in place. There are so many benefits to having one.

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