HawkScan Test Info for Buffer Overflow

Buffer Overflow


Plugin Id: 30001 | CWE: 120


To mitigate the risk of buffer overflow vulnerabilities, the following measures can be taken:

  1. Input validation: Implement strict input validation to ensure that user-supplied data does not exceed the allocated buffer size. This can be achieved by using secure coding practices and input sanitization techniques.

  2. Boundary checks: Perform boundary checks to ensure that data being written to a buffer does not exceed its allocated size. This can be done by using safe string manipulation functions that automatically handle buffer size limitations, such as strncpy instead of strcpy.

  3. Use secure coding practices: Follow secure coding practices, such as avoiding the use of unsafe functions like gets and using safer alternatives like fgets or scanf with buffer size limits.

  4. Compiler security features: Enable compiler security features, such as stack canaries or address space layout randomization (ASLR), which can help detect and prevent buffer overflow attacks.

  5. Regular security updates: Keep the software and libraries up to date with the latest security patches to ensure that any known buffer overflow vulnerabilities are addressed.


Buffer overflow errors occur when a program or process attempts to write data beyond the allocated buffer size, resulting in the overwriting of memory spaces that should not be modified. This can happen due to improper input validation or boundary checks, allowing an attacker to inject malicious code or overwrite critical data. Overwriting values of important registers like the IP (Instruction Pointer) and BP (Base Pointer) can lead to exceptions, segmentation faults, and unexpected termination of the application.


Buffer overflow vulnerabilities pose significant risks to the security and stability of a system. Some potential risks include:

  1. Code execution: An attacker can exploit a buffer overflow vulnerability to execute arbitrary code on the target system. This can lead to unauthorized access, privilege escalation, or the installation of malware.

  2. Denial of Service (DoS): Buffer overflow errors can cause the application or system to crash, resulting in a denial of service. This can disrupt critical services and impact the availability of the system.

  3. Data corruption or leakage: Overwriting memory spaces can corrupt critical data or leak sensitive information. This can lead to data integrity issues, loss of confidentiality, or exposure of sensitive information.

  4. System compromise: Successful exploitation of a buffer overflow vulnerability can provide an attacker with full control over the target system. This can allow them to manipulate or compromise the system, potentially leading to further attacks or unauthorized access.