Course Content

  • Buffer Overflow Attack

Course Content


To obtain access to IT systems, an attacker might insert extra code and transmit new instructions to the programme. If an attacker knows a program's memory layout, they can deliberately feed input that the buffer can't store, and replace sections that contain executable code with their own code.

Buffer overflows are used by attackers to corrupt a web application's execution stack. An attacker can make a web application to run arbitrary code – effectively taking control of the machine – by passing carefully crafted information to it.

  • Stack overflow attack - This is the most common sort of buffer overflow attack, in which a buffer on the call stack* is overflowed.
  • Heap overflow attack – This sort of attack targets data in the heap*, which is an open memory pool.

The surplus data will then overflow into the adjacent buffer, overwriting its contents and allowing the attacker to alter the program's flow and carry out a code injection attack. Buffer overflows account for over 10,000 documented software vulnerabilities, with 23% of them being considered severe, according to MITRE.

All forms of software can be affected by buffer overflows. Malformed inputs or a failure to allocate enough buffer space are the most common causes. If the transaction overwrites executable code, the programme may perform erratically, resulting in inaccurate results, memory access issues, or even crashes.

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