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CAPEC-540: Overread Buffers

Attack Pattern ID: 540
Abstraction: Standard
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+ Description
An adversary attacks a target by providing input that causes an application to read beyond the boundary of a defined buffer. This typically occurs when a value influencing where to start or stop reading is set to reflect positions outside of the valid memory location of the buffer. This type of attack may result in exposure of sensitive information, a system crash, or arbitrary code execution.
+ Likelihood Of Attack


+ Typical Severity


+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, 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.
ChildOfMeta Attack PatternMeta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.123Buffer Manipulation
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Execution Flow
  1. Identify target application: The adversary identifies a target application or program to perform the buffer overread on. Adversaries often look for applications that accept user input and that perform manual memory management.

  1. Find attack vector: The adversary identifies an attack vector by looking for areas in the application where they can specify to read more data than is required.

  1. Overread the buffer: The adversary provides input to the application that gets it to read past the bounds of a buffer, possibly revealing sensitive information that was not intended to be given to the adversary.

+ Prerequisites
For this type of attack to be successful, a few prerequisites must be met. First, the targeted software must be written in a language that enables fine grained buffer control. (e.g., c, c++) Second, the targeted software must actually perform buffer operations and inadequately perform bounds-checking on those buffer operations. Finally, the adversary must have the capability to influence the input that guides these buffer operations.
+ Consequences
Section HelpThis table 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.
Read Data
Unreliable Execution
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
(Version 2.6)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
(Version 3.6)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Execution_Flow
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018