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Many protocols, including TLS and WebSocket, have a ping/heartbeat packet format that we encapsulate a variable payload that the remote end must reply back.

In other terms, If I (client) send a ping to the server with payload "a", the server must reply with a pong with payload "a".

From a security point of view, what's the added value of the dynamic payload? That is, what is the difference when a payload is included rather than sending just a static "ping" and "pong" command?

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From a security point of view there is no reason for this.

The motivation is purely technical.

An arbitrary payload allows you to check not just if the system is able to respond in general, but also if the communication is free of any errors. An arbitrary size also allows to find out how the connection behaves when using larger messages. Standard ICMP pings with different length, for example, can be used to discover the fragmentation size of a network route and which router enforces it.

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