Payload (computing)

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Payload in computing (sometimes referred to as the actual or body data) is the cargo of a data transmission. It is the part of the transmitted data which is the fundamental purpose of the transmission. Payload does not include information sent with it such as headers or metadata, sometimes referred to as overhead data, sent solely to facilitate payload delivery.[1][2]

In computer security, payload refers to the part of malware which performs a malicious action.[3] In the analysis of malicious software such as worms, viruses and Trojans, it refers to the software's harmful results. Examples of payloads include data destruction, messages with insulting text or spurious e-mail messages sent to a large number of people.

In summary, payload refers to the actual intended message in a transmission.


  1. ^ "Payload definition". 1994-12-01. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  2. ^ "Payload definition". Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  3. ^ "Payload definition". Retrieved 2012-02-07.