Server Message Block (SMB)

SMB (Server Message Block) is a Windows communication protocol that allows users to share files, access print services, and browse across a local area network (LAN). The protocol was first released by IBM in 1983 and Microsoft has since released many newer versions (or dialects), including the now-obsolete CIFS (Common Internet File System).

SMB Versions

The main dialects of SMB include:

  • CIFS/SMB 1.0
  • SMB 2.0
  • SMB 2.1
  • SMB 3.0
  • SMB 3.02
  • SMB 3.1.1

Key takeaways

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    CIFS is an obsolete dialect of SMB — the two terms are often mistakenly used interchangeably.
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    Newer SMB dialects offer better network performance, usability, and security mechanisms than CIFS.
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    SMB 3.1.1 is the latest version of the protocol and offers the greatest performance, security, and scalability.
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