Home > CAPEC List > CAPEC-123: Buffer Manipulation (Version 3.0)  

CAPEC-123: Buffer Manipulation

Attack Pattern ID: 123
Abstraction: Meta
Status: Draft
Presentation Filter:
+ Description
An adversary manipulates an application's interaction with a buffer in an attempt to read or modify data they shouldn't have access to. Buffer attacks are distinguished in that it is the buffer space itself that is the target of the attack rather than any code responsible for interpreting the content of the buffer. In virtually all buffer attacks the content that is placed in the buffer is immaterial. Instead, most buffer attacks involve retrieving or providing more input than can be stored in the allocated buffer, resulting in the reading or overwriting of other unintended program memory.
+ Likelihood Of Attack

High

+ Typical Severity

Very High

+ Relationships

The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.

+ Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - A category in CAPEC is a collection of attack patterns based on some common characteristic. More specifically, it is an aggregation of attack patterns based on effect/intent (as opposed to actions or mechanisms, such an aggregation would be a meta attack pattern). An aggregation based on effect/intent is not an actionable attack and as such is not a pattern of attack behavior. Rather, it is a grouping of patterns based on some common criteria.255Manipulate Data Structures
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.100Overflow Buffers
ParentOfStandard Attack PatternStandard Attack Pattern - A standard level attack pattern in CAPEC is focused on a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. It is often seen as a singular piece of a fully executed attack. A standard attack pattern is meant to provide sufficient details to understand the specific technique and how it attempts to accomplish a desired goal. A standard level attack pattern is a specific type of a more abstract meta level attack pattern.540Overread Buffers
+ Relevant to the view "Domains of Attack" (CAPEC-3000)
NatureTypeIDName
MemberOfCategoryCategory - A category in CAPEC is a collection of attack patterns based on some common characteristic. More specifically, it is an aggregation of attack patterns based on effect/intent (as opposed to actions or mechanisms, such an aggregation would be a meta attack pattern). An aggregation based on effect/intent is not an actionable attack and as such is not a pattern of attack behavior. Rather, it is a grouping of patterns based on some common criteria.513Software
+ Prerequisites
The adversary must identify a programmatic means for interacting with a buffer, such as vulnerable C code, and be able to provide input to this interaction.
+ Consequences

The table below specifies different individual consequences associated with the attack pattern. The Scope identifies the security property that is violated, while the Impact describes the negative technical impact that arises if an adversary succeeds in their attack. The Likelihood provides information about how likely the specific consequence is expected to be seen relative to the other consequences in the list. For example, there may be high likelihood that a pattern will be used to achieve a certain impact, but a low likelihood that it will be exploited to achieve a different impact.

ScopeImpactLikelihood
Availability
Unreliable Execution
Confidentiality
Execute Unauthorized Commands
Modify Data
Read Data
+ Mitigations
To help protect an application from buffer manipulation attacks, a number of potential mitigations can be leveraged. Before starting the development of the application, consider using a code language (e.g., Java) or compiler that limits the ability of developers to act beyond the bounds of a buffer. If the chosen language is susceptible to buffer related issues (e.g., C) then consider using secure functions instead of those vulnerable to buffer manipulations. If a potentially dangerous function must be used, make sure that proper boundary checking is performed. Additionally, there are often a number of compiler-based mechanisms (e.g., StackGuard, ProPolice and the Microsoft Visual Studio /GS flag) that can help identify and protect against potential buffer issues. Finally, there may be operating system level preventative functionality that can be applied.
+ Content History
Submissions
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
2014-06-23CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modifications
Modification DateModifierOrganization
2017-01-09CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Activation_Zone, Attack_Motivation-Consequences, Injection_Vector, Payload, Payload_Activation_Impact, Related_Attack_Patterns, Solutions_and_Mitigations

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018