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What is the SMB Protocol?

What is the SMB Protocol?
Sep 27, 2022
The SMB protocol is a network communication standard that is supported by Windows-based operating systems. SMB is a way to connect devices and share files.
Dilara Yavuz
Privacy & Security
What Is SMB Protocol? What Is It Used For? - FastVPN
The SMB protocol is a network communication standard that enables devices such as computers to share files and printers over a Local Area Network (LAN).
Developed in the early 1990s, SMB has been widely adopted by businesses of all sizes. And is also supported by Windows-based operating systems. In recent years, the use of cloud-based services has increased the need for SMB connectivity, and many third-party providers now offer SMB-specific cloud solutions. While SMB was initially designed for Windows operating systems, Linux users can now perform SMB network actions through a Linux application known as Samba.
If you’re looking for a fast, reliable way to connect your devices and share files and resources, SMB may be the right solution for you.

How do We Use the SMB Protocol?

  • SMB is a client-server protocol, meaning that clients (such as PCs or laptops) request resources from a server. The server then provides the requested resources to the clients.
  • The SMB Protocol can be used to provide file and print services, as well as access to other resources such as serial ports and named pipes. It can also be used for inter-process communication (IPC).
  • The SMB Protocol is a request-response protocol. This means that clients send requests to the server, and the server responds with the requested data.
  • The SMB Protocol uses a number of different types of requests, each of which has a specific purpose. For example, there are requests for opening files, reading data from files, writing data to files, and closing files.

What is SMB Authentication?

SMB authentication is a process used to verify the identity of a user or computer that is attempting to access a shared resource on a network.
The process typically involves providing a username and password. Which are then verified against a list of approved users. If the credentials match, the user is granted access to the resource. If the credentials do not match, the user is denied access.
SMB authentication can be used to protect data as it travels across a network, as well as to restrict access to specific resources on a server. There are several different methods of performing SMB authentication, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Active Directory is the most common method of SMB authentication. As it offers a central repository for user credentials that can be easily managed and monitored. This Protocol is typically used in business networks. It allows computers on the web to share files and printers. If you’re having trouble connecting to a shared printer or file on a business network, it’s worth checking to ensure your computer uses the SMB protocol.
SMB servers are used to connect to a network. In workgroup mode, SMB servers authenticate users locally. This is known as local login. In domain mode, the users certify themselves via a domain controller. This method is used in enterprise environments. Moreover, SMB supports opportunistic locking on files, which improves performance. The latest version of Windows Server offers opportunistic locking.


CIFS (Common Internet File System) and SMB (Server Message Block) are two popular protocols for file sharing. It’s the newer protocol, while SMB is the older protocol. Both protocols have their own advantages and disadvantages. CIFS is a proprietary protocol developed by Microsoft. It is designed to be more efficient than SMB, and it offers some additional features that SMB does not.
However, CIFS requires a Windows Server in order to work properly. Additionally, CIFS can be more difficult to configure than SMB. SMB is an open protocol that can be used with any operating system. It is typically slower than CIFS, but it is much easier to set up. SMB is also less likely to encounter errors than CIFS.
Overall, both protocols have their own pros and cons. CIFS is more efficient and offers additional features, but it can be difficult to configure. SMB is easier to set up, but it is not as fast as CIFS. Ultimately, the best protocol for you will depend on your specific needs.

Different Variants of CIFS vs. SMB

There are several dialects of the SMB Protocol.
  • SMB 1.0 The original SMB protocol was referred to as SMB 1.0 and was based on IBM’s Common Internet File System. This variant was known for its long response time and many acknowledgments. Which slowed down wide-area network performance.
  • SMB 2.0 was introduced in 1999 and drastically improved the protocol’s performance. It is due to the reducing the number of commands from hundreds to only 19!
  • CIFS Was released in 1996. This version has more features and can handle larger files. It was integrated with Windows 95.
  • SMBv2.1 Comes with Windows 7, offering improved performance.
  • SMB3.0 has been introduced with Windows 8’s many updates. The most significant feature of this protocol is its enhanced security. It now supports end-to-end encryption.
  • SMBv3.1.1 version was released in 2015 along with Windows 10. It introduced additional security features to the protocol like AES-128 encrypted, protection from a man-in-the-middle attack, and session verification.

Is SMB Safe?

SMB, or Server Message Block, is a protocol that is commonly used for file sharing and printing services between computers. While SMB is a very useful protocol, it has also been the target of many cyber-attacks in recent years. This has led to some people wondering if SMB is safe to use.
The answer to this question is that SMB is safe to use if it is properly configured and secured. However, if SMB is not properly configured, it can be vulnerable to attack.
There are a few things that you can do to ensure that your SMB setup is secure.
  • First, make sure that you are using the latest version of the protocol.
  • Second, use strong authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication.
Finally, make sure that your SMB traffic is encrypted. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your SMB setup is safe and secure.

Should I Disable SMB Protocol?

The short answer is “no”. Disabling SMB will not improve your security posture and may in fact make it worse. SMB is a network protocol that allows for file sharing and printing between computers. It has been around for decades and is used by millions of people every day.
While it is true that SMB has had its share of security vulnerabilities. The protocol has been constantly evolving and improving. The latest version of SMB, known as SMB 3.0, is actually quite secure.
There are two main reasons why you should not disable SMB. First, doing so will likely break many applications and devices that rely on the protocol. This includes printers, scanners, and some Wi-Fi routers. Second, SMB is not the only file-sharing protocol out there. If you disable SMB, you’ll likely have to enable another protocol, such as NFS, which also has its own set of security vulnerabilities.
In short, disabling SMB is not worth the hassle. Unless you have a specific reason to do so, leave it enabled.

What are the Risks of Using the SMB Protocol?

This protocol can be convenient, it also comes with some risks. Here are some of the potential dangers of using SMB:

1. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Because SMB traffic is not in encrypted form. So, attackers can intercept it easily. They are able to perform man-in-the-middle attacks. This type of attack can allow an attacker to eavesdrop on communications, or even modify the data, transferred.

2. Password Guessing

SMB passwords are typically sent in plain text which means that they can be easily guessed by attackers. If they are not sufficiently strong brute force attacks.

3. Denial of service

Because SMB relies on TCP for its communications, it can be susceptible to denial of service attacks. These attacks can flood the network with traffic, preventing legitimate users from accessing resources.

4. Buffer overflow

SMB has been subject to various buffer overflow vulnerabilities over the years. Which can allow attackers to execute arbitrary code on the affected system.

5. Wormable vulnerabilities

In 2017, the WannaCryransomware exploited a wormable vulnerability in SMB (CVE-2017-0144). This will spread rapidly across the internet and infect hundreds of thousands of computers.
While the SMB protocol can be convenient. It is important to be aware of the potential risks involved in using it. By taking steps to secure your network and using strong passwords, you can help mitigate the dangers of SMB.
These attacks can be devastating, resulting in data loss and business downtime. To protect yourself, it’s essential to keep your computer’s software up to date. And use a firewall to block incoming traffic from untrusted sources.


SMB Protocol is a set of guidelines that helps mobile and internet users identify trustworthy websites. The protocol has three central tenets: authentication, transparency, and security. So far, over 1 million websites have implemented the SMB Protocol, including some of the world’s largest companies.
Websites that follow the SMB Protocol display a website seal that indicates their compliance. If you’re looking for a safe online experience, look for the seal on your favorite website’s homepage. Have you ever used the SMB Protocol before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!
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