Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification
A Community of Knowledge Resource for Building Secure Software
This type of attack leverages the use of tags or variables from a formatted configuration data to cause buffer overflow. The attacker crafts a malicious HTML page or configuration file that includes oversized strings, thus causing an overflow.
Attack Execution Flow
The target program consumes user-controllable data in the form of tags or variables.
The target program does not perform sufficient boundary checking.
A buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the Yamaha MidiPlug that can be accessed via a Text variable found in an EMBED tag.
A buffer overflow in Exim allows local users to gain root privileges by providing a long :include: option in a .forward file.
Skill or Knowledge Level: Low
An attacker can simply overflow a buffer by inserting a long string into an attacker-modifiable injection vector. The result can be a DoS.
Skill or Knowledge Level: High
Exploiting a buffer overflow to inject malicious code into the stack of a software system or even the heap can require a higher skill level.
An attacker can modify the variables and tag exposed by the target program.
An attacker can automate the probing by input injection with script or automated tools.
Use a language or compiler that performs automatic bounds checking.
Use an abstraction library to abstract away risky APIs. Not a complete solution.
Compiler-based canary mechanisms such as StackGuard, ProPolice and the Microsoft Visual Studio /GS flag. Unless this provides automatic bounds checking, it is not a complete solution.
Use OS-level preventative functionality. Not a complete solution.
Do not trust input data from user. Validate all user input.
When the function returns control to the main program, it jumps to the return address portion of the stack frame. Unfortunately that return address may have been overwritten by the overflowed buffer and the address may contain a call to a privileged command or to a malicious code.
G. Hoglund and G. McGraw. "Exploiting Software: How to Break Code". Addison-Wesley. February 2004.
CWE - Buffer Errors