Published: 17/01/2022

Buffer Overflow Attack

buffer overflow is a type of cyber-attack which exploits software bugs to swallow up memory and overwrite data with instructions that allow the attacker to take control of the system.

How it works

Hackers attach malicious code onto existing commands within the software. If there aren’t any checks in place against this action, then this allows them to take over and run whatever they like on the system.

For instance, an attacker could gain access to a company’s network by making just one phone call from a pwned computer, since all they would need at that point is account details.

How to protect your business

The best way for companies to avoid falling victim is through penetration testing by professional IT teams which can identify any vulnerabilities before they’re exploited by cybercriminals. It’s also worth noting that the security of a company’s most critical data should be prioritized over less important information such as passwords or personal details.

Frequently asked questions about buffer overflow attacks

How will I know if I’m affected by this sort of attack?

Since a buffer overflow can be difficult to spot, cybercriminals will usually use it as a gateway onto your internal system where they can launch attacks on other third-party sites. This might be done through spamming campaigns which are designed to get users to click on links that lead them to malware or ransomware infections.

How might I be affected on an individual level?

Hackers will usually gain access to a company’s network by luring employees to open email attachments or click on malicious links. Therefore, this sort of attack is more likely to affect workers than home users.

What other types of cyber-attacks are linked with buffer overflows?

One common type of cyber-attack which can be caused by buffer overflows is remote code execution. This occurs when hackers attach malicious code to existing commands within the software. If checks against this action aren’t in place, then they’ll gain control over the system and run whatever they like on it.

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