CAPEC Details
Name Buffer Overflow in an API Call
Likelyhood of attack Typical severity
High High
Summary This attack targets libraries or shared code modules which are vulnerable to buffer overflow attacks. An attacker who has access to an API may try to embed malicious code in the API function call and exploit a buffer overflow vulnerability in the function's implementation. All clients that make use of the code library thus become vulnerable by association. This has a very broad effect on security across a system, usually affecting more than one software process.
Prerequisites The target host exposes an API to the user. One or more API functions exposed by the target host has a buffer overflow vulnerability.
Execution Flow
Step Phase Description Techniques
1 Experiment An attacker can call an API exposed by the target host.
2 Experiment On the probing stage, the attacker injects malicious code using the API call and observes the results. The attacker's goal is to uncover a buffer overflow vulnerability.
3 Exploit The attacker finds a buffer overflow vulnerability, crafts malicious code and injects it through an API call. The attacker can at worst execute remote code on the target host.
Solutions Use a language or compiler that performs automatic bounds checking. Use secure functions not vulnerable to buffer overflow. If you have to use dangerous functions, make sure that you do boundary checking. 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.
Related Weaknesses
CWE ID Description
CWE-20 Improper Input Validation
CWE-74 Improper Neutralization of Special Elements in Output Used by a Downstream Component ('Injection')
CWE-118 Incorrect Access of Indexable Resource ('Range Error')
CWE-119 Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a Memory Buffer
CWE-120 Buffer Copy without Checking Size of Input ('Classic Buffer Overflow')
CWE-680 Integer Overflow to Buffer Overflow
CWE-697 Incorrect Comparison
CWE-733 Compiler Optimization Removal or Modification of Security-critical Code
Related CAPECS
CAPEC ID Description
CAPEC-100 Buffer Overflow attacks target improper or missing bounds checking on buffer operations, typically triggered by input injected by an adversary. As a consequence, an adversary is able to write past the boundaries of allocated buffer regions in memory, causing a program crash or potentially redirection of execution as per the adversaries' choice.