While opening an email attachment, Pete, a customer, receives an error that the application has encountered
an unexpected issue and must be shut down.
Which of the following attacks could be this an example of?
When the user opens an attachment, the attachment is loaded into memory. The error is caused by a memory
issue due to a buffer overflow attack.
A buffer overflow occurs when a program or process tries to store more data in a buffer (temporary data
storage area) than it was intended to hold. Since buffers are created to contain a finite amount of data, the extra
information – which has to go somewhere – can overflow into adjacent buffers, corrupting or overwriting the valid
data held in them. Although it may occur accidentally through programming error, buffer overflow is an
increasingly common type of security attack on data integrity. In buffer overflow attacks, the extra data may
contain codes designed to trigger specific actions, in effect sending new instructions to the attacked computer
that could, for example, damage the user’s files, change data, or disclose confidential information. Buffer
overflow attacks are said to have arisen because the C programming language supplied the framework, and
poor programming practices supplied the vulnerability.