All About the Buffer Overflow

Man astonished in a network data center

Man astonished in a network data centerA buffer overflow, also known as a buffer overrun, is basically a mistake in software coding. To manage buffer overflow vulnerabilities effectively, it is crucial to understand what they are, the harm they could do to applications, and the common techniques malicious users utilize for exploiting these vulnerabilities.

What Exactly Is a Buffer Overflow?

Buffers are sequential memory sections assigned to contain various things such as integer arrays or character strings. A buffer overflow happens when a buffer is sent more data that it could handle, which in turn corrupts and overwrites the adjoining memory space.

When this happens, other terrible things could likewise occur. Commonly, the system will crash, but the chance for hackers to run arbitrary codes increase as well.

Plenty of hackers love exploiting problems with buffer overflows and take advantage of these to modify an application’s execution path by overwriting some of its memory’s components, explains top CompTIA Security+ practice test providers such as CertBlaster.

This extra data would most likely contain malicious code developer for triggering certain actions, which in turn sends new instructions to the targeted application that could then lead to unauthorized system access.

Preventing Buffer Overflows

Some programmers do not assign ample buffers or check for overflow issues when developing applications. For example, because hackers love exploiting C applications, they must avoid using standard library functions that are not bounds checked like “strcy”, “scanf”, and “gets”.

Best security practices must include testing on regular basis to efficiently detect and address buffer overflows. However, protection starting at the language (writing) level is not always possible.

To address this, you can enforce bounds checking during runtime to prevent buffer overflows by checking data written to buffers automatically. Microsoft also offers the Data Execution Prevention tool, which could help safeguard the system against malware that tries to run code from a location in system memory that is reserved for authorized programs and Windows.

In addition, you must always validate data from dubious sources and user input to make certain that they are within the expected bounds and avoid exceedingly long input values.