Payload (computing)

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In computing and telecommunications, the payload is the part of transmitted data that is the actual intended message. The payload excludes any headers or metadata sent solely to facilitate payload delivery.[1][2]

The term is borrowed from transportation, where "payload" refers to the part of the load that pays for transportation.

Security[edit]

In computer security, the payload is the part of malware such as worms or viruses which performs the malicious action; deleting data, sending spam or encrypting data.[3] In addition to the payload, such malware also typically has overhead code aimed at simply spreading itself, or avoiding detection.

Programming[edit]

In computer programming, the most common usage of the term is in the context of message protocols, to differentiate the protocol overhead from the actual data. For example, a JSON web service response might be:

{  
   "data":{  
      "message":"Hello, world!"
   }
}

The string "Hello, world!" is the payload, while the rest is protocol overhead.

Networks[edit]

In the computer networking, data to be transmitted is the payload, but is almost always encapsulated in some type of a "frame" composed of framing bits and a frame check sequence.[4][5] Examples are Ethernet frames, Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) frames, Fibre Channel frames, and V.42 modem frames.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Payload definition". Pcmag.com. 1994-12-01. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  2. ^ "Payload definition". Techterms.com. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  3. ^ "Payload definition". Securityfocus.com. Retrieved 2012-02-07. 
  4. ^ "RFC 1122: Requirements for Internet Hosts — Communication Layers". IETF. October 1989. p. 18. RFC 1122. https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1122#page-18. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Data Link Layer (Layer 2)". The TCP/IP Guide. 2005-09-20. Retrieved 2010-01-31.