Buffer Overflow

What is a Buffer Overflow?

A Buffer Overflow takes place when a program overwrites other parts of a computer’s memory to store excess data, which can cause errors or even crashes. Hackers launch buffer overflow attacks by sending more data to a program than it expects (often including malicious code), leading the application to take over operating system memory. This action can allow unauthorized code to execute or simply lead to a system crash.

How to Recognize This Threat: Buffer overflows can occur in any application, not just core programs or services. An area to pay special attention to is any code dealing with input supplied by an outside source such as a user, as this code provides an easier path for exploitation (especially if there is no bounds checking).

How to Prevent This Threat: This attack almost always occurs at the application level, so keeping all your applications updated with the latest security patches will cover any known vulnerabilities. Buffer overflows can also be executed by viruses, so ensure your network is protected with a firewall from a top brand along with an active security services subscription.