Buffer - Overflow
1 Answer

Buffer overflow, or buffer overrun, is an anomaly where a process stores data in a buffer outside the memory the programmer has set aside for it. The extra data overwrites adjacent memory, which may contain other data including program variables and program flow control data. This may result in erratic program behavior, including memory access errors, incorrect results, program termination (a crash) or a breach of system security.

Buffer overflows can be triggered by inputs that are designed to execute code or alter the way the program operates. They are, thus, the basis of many software vulnerabilities and can be maliciously exploited. Bounds checking can prevent buffer overflows.

Programming languages commonly associated with buffer overflows include $\mathrm{C}$ and $\mathrm{C}_{++}$ , which provide no built-in protection against accessing or overwriting data in any part of memory and do not automatically check that data written to an array (the built-in buffer type), which is which is boundaries of that array.

Buffer overflow occurs when a program or process tries to store more data in a buffer (temporary data) storage area) than it was intended to hold. As buffers are created to contain a finite amount of data, the extra information - which has to go somewhere - can overflow into adjacent buffers, corrupting or overwriting the valid data held in them. Although it may occur accidentally through programming error, buffer overflow is an increasingly common type of security attack on data integrity.

The knowledge of $C, C++$ or any other high-level computer language (i.e., assembly language) is essential to understand buffer overflow, as basic knowledge of process memory layout is very important. A buffer is a contiguous allocated chunk of memory such as an array or a pointer in $C .$ In $C, C+t$ , there are no automatic bounds checking on the buffer - which means a user can write past a buffer. For example,

int main () 
int buffer [10];
buffer [20]=10;

This C program is a valid program and every compiler can compile it without any errors. However, the program attempts to write beyond the allocated memory for the buffer, which might result in an unexpected behavior.

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