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Buffer Overflow Attacks Pdf ^HOT^ Download

The programmer attempts to encode the ampersand character in the user-controlled string, however the length of the string is validated before the encoding procedure is applied. Furthermore, the programmer assumes encoding expansion will only expand a given character by a factor of 4, while the encoding of the ampersand expands by 5. As a result, when the encoding procedure expands the string it is possible to overflow the destination buffer if the attacker provides a string of many ampersands.

buffer overflow attacks pdf download

In information security and programming, a buffer overflow, or buffer overrun, is an anomaly whereby a program, while writing data to a buffer, overruns the buffer's boundary and overwrites adjacent memory locations.

Buffers are areas of memory set aside to hold data, often while moving it from one section of a program to another, or between programs. Buffer overflows can often be triggered by malformed inputs; if one assumes all inputs will be smaller than a certain size and the buffer is created to be that size, then an anomalous transaction that produces more data could cause it to write past the end of the buffer. If this overwrites adjacent data or executable code, this may result in erratic program behavior, including memory access errors, incorrect results, and crashes.

Exploiting the behavior of a buffer overflow is a well-known security exploit. On many systems, the memory layout of a program, or the system as a whole, is well defined. By sending in data designed to cause a buffer overflow, it is possible to write into areas known to hold executable code and replace it with malicious code, or to selectively overwrite data pertaining to the program's state, therefore causing behavior that was not intended by the original programmer. Buffers are widespread in operating system (OS) code, so it is possible to make attacks that perform privilege escalation and gain unlimited access to the computer's resources. The famed Morris worm in 1988 used this as one of its attack techniques.

Programming languages commonly associated with buffer overflows include C and 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) is within the boundaries of that array. Bounds checking can prevent buffer overflows, but requires additional code and processing time. Modern operating systems use a variety of techniques to combat malicious buffer overflows, notably by randomizing the layout of memory, or deliberately leaving space between buffers and looking for actions that write into those areas ("canaries").

To prevent the buffer overflow from happening in this example, the call to strcpy could be replaced with strlcpy, which takes the maximum capacity of A (including a null-termination character) as an additional parameter and ensures that no more than this amount of data is written to A:

The techniques to exploit a buffer overflow vulnerability vary by architecture, by operating system and by memory region. For example, exploitation on the heap (used for dynamically allocated memory), differs markedly from exploitation on the call stack. In general, heap exploitation is dependent on the heap manager used on the target system, stack exploitation is dependent on the calling convention used by the architecture and compiler.

The attacker designs data to cause one of these exploits, then places this data in a buffer supplied to users by the vulnerable code. If the address of the user-supplied data used to affect the stack buffer overflow is unpredictable, exploiting a stack buffer overflow to cause remote code execution becomes much more difficult. One technique that can be used to exploit such a buffer overflow is called "trampolining". In that technique, an attacker will find a pointer to the vulnerable stack buffer, and compute the location of their shellcode relative to that pointer. Then, they will use the overwrite to jump to an instruction already in memory which will make a second jump, this time relative to the pointer; that second jump will branch execution into the shellcode. Suitable instructions are often present in large code. The Metasploit Project, for example, maintains a database of suitable opcodes, though it lists only those found in the Windows operating system.[4]

A buffer overflow occurring in the heap data area is referred to as a heap overflow and is exploitable in a manner different from that of stack-based overflows. Memory on the heap is dynamically allocated by the application at run-time and typically contains program data. Exploitation is performed by corrupting this data in specific ways to cause the application to overwrite internal structures such as linked list pointers. The canonical heap overflow technique overwrites dynamic memory allocation linkage (such as malloc meta data) and uses the resulting pointer exchange to overwrite a program function pointer.

Manipulation of the buffer, which occurs before it is read or executed, may lead to the failure of an exploitation attempt. These manipulations can mitigate the threat of exploitation, but may not make it impossible. Manipulations could include conversion to upper or lower case, removal of metacharacters and filtering out of non-alphanumeric strings. However, techniques exist to bypass these filters and manipulations; alphanumeric shellcode, polymorphic code, self-modifying code and return-to-libc attacks. The same methods can be used to avoid detection by intrusion detection systems. In some cases, including where code is converted into Unicode,[6] the threat of the vulnerability has been misrepresented by the disclosers as only Denial of Service when in fact the remote execution of arbitrary code is possible.

A NOP-sled is the oldest and most widely known technique for exploiting stack buffer overflows.[7] It solves the problem of finding the exact address of the buffer by effectively increasing the size of the target area. To do this, much larger sections of the stack are corrupted with the no-op machine instruction. At the end of the attacker-supplied data, after the no-op instructions, the attacker places an instruction to perform a relative jump to the top of the buffer where the shellcode is located. This collection of no-ops is referred to as the "NOP-sled" because if the return address is overwritten with any address within the no-op region of the buffer, the execution will "slide" down the no-ops until it is redirected to the actual malicious code by the jump at the end. This technique requires the attacker to guess where on the stack the NOP-sled is instead of the comparatively small shellcode.[8]

The "jump to register" technique allows for reliable exploitation of stack buffer overflows without the need for extra room for a NOP-sled and without having to guess stack offsets. The strategy is to overwrite the return pointer with something that will cause the program to jump to a known pointer stored within a register which points to the controlled buffer and thus the shellcode. For example, if register A contains a pointer to the start of a buffer then any jump or call taking that register as an operand can be used to gain control of the flow of execution.[11]

When this technique is possible the severity of the vulnerability increases considerably. This is because exploitation will work reliably enough to automate an attack with a virtual guarantee of success when it is run. For this reason, this is the technique most commonly used in Internet worms that exploit stack buffer overflow vulnerabilities.[14]

Assembly and C/C++ are popular programming languages that are vulnerable to buffer overflow, in part because they allow direct access to memory and are not strongly typed.[15] C provides no built-in protection against accessing or overwriting data in any part of memory; more specifically, it does not check that data written to a buffer is within the boundaries of that buffer. The standard C++ libraries provide many ways of safely buffering data, and C++'s Standard Template Library (STL) provides containers that can optionally perform bounds checking if the programmer explicitly calls for checks while accessing data. For example, a vector's member function at() performs a bounds check and throws an out_of_range exception if the bounds check fails.[16] However, C++ behaves just like C if the bounds check is not explicitly called. Techniques to avoid buffer overflows also exist for C.

Languages that are strongly typed and do not allow direct memory access, such as COBOL, Java, Python, and others, prevent buffer overflow from occurring in most cases.[15] Many programming languages other than C/C++ provide runtime checking and in some cases even compile-time checking which might send a warning or raise an exception when C or C++ would overwrite data and continue to execute further instructions until erroneous results are obtained which might or might not cause the program to crash. Examples of such languages include Ada, Eiffel, Lisp, Modula-2, Smalltalk, OCaml and such C-derivatives as Cyclone, Rust and D. The Java and .NET Framework bytecode environments also require bounds checking on all arrays. Nearly every interpreted language will protect against buffer overflows, signaling a well-defined error condition. Often where a language provides enough type information to do bounds checking an option is provided to enable or disable it. Static code analysis can remove many dynamic bound and type checks, but poor implementations and awkward cases can significantly decrease performance. Software engineers must carefully consider the tradeoffs of safety versus performance costs when deciding which language and compiler setting to use.

The problem of buffer overflows is common in the C and C++ languages because they expose low level representational details of buffers as containers for data types. Buffer overflows must thus be avoided by maintaining a high degree of correctness in code which performs buffer management. It has also long been recommended to avoid standard library functions which are not bounds checked, such as gets, scanf and strcpy. The Morris worm exploited a gets call in fingerd.[17]

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