Reviewing Code for Buffer Overruns and Overflows

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Some time in my mind sounds come that Is that I am really a developer or just a good googler. I don't know what is the answer I am googler or I am developer. Scott Please clear on my mind on this please. This is a really profound question that deserved an answer. Since I only have so many keystrokes left in my life, I am blogging my thoughts and emailing a link.

I've felt the same way sometimes when playing a video game. It'll get hard as Read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow progress through the levels, but not crushingly hard. Each level I squeak by I'll find myself asking, read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow I deserve to pass that level?

I'm not sure I could do it again. You get that feeling like you're in over your head, but just a bit. Just enough that you can feel the water getting into your nose but you're not drowning yet.

First, remember you are not alone. I think that we grow when we are outside our comfort zone. If it's not breaking you down, it's not building you up. Second, anything that you want to be good at is worth practicing.

Do a Project Euler problem every few weeks, if not weekly. Third, try programming for a day without Googling. Then two days, maybe a week. See how it feels. Remember that there was a time we programmed without copying our work. Fourth, think about the problemdeeply. Read about algorithms, read Programming Pearlsread about Design Patterns.

Rather than copying code from Stack Overflow, copy patterns from the greats. Go to User Groups, Nerd Dinners, meet with others who feel the same way you do about technology. A big thanks and a warm welcome to Aspose for sponsoring the feed this week!

Check out their Aspose. NET has all the APIs you need to create, manipulate and convert Microsoft Office documents and a host of other file formats in your applications. Start a free trial today. Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way. Am I really a developer or just a good googler? About Scott Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. Comments [98] Share on: Friday, August 23, How did we ever do this programming thing before the InterTubes??? I know we did it, but honestly it seems like a distant, muddy memory.

While it might be causing us to slack a bit on our actual computer skills, it also advances us because we don't have to constantly reinvent the wheel as we did in the old read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow.

If you never found a given library already out there somewhere what other choice did you have: Now we context switch all day between technologies, languages, paradigms etc. Some days I fondly remember working in a single tool building a desktop application read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow I had all the pieces in my head. This hits close to home. I have wondered the same thing. Thanks for the tips on staying sharp.

Being a web developer isn't always easy. But if I didn't understand it, then I couldn't effectively alter it I guess. I couldn't make things work at all from examples, if I did not understand those examples and some fundamental programming concepts and data structures. Great post, you really have me re-thinking things. And that is a good thing. It depends on the day Sometimes I feel like coding the hardcore way and thinking about complicated logic and such, but there are also other times when I think 'I know the answer more or read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow but I really don't want to hurt my brain to much today' and then, Google is my best friend!

This post really hit home for me today. I've been thinking about this a fair bit lately - that I use stackoverflow way more than I contribute, and that I'm not a very good whiteboard developer I'm addicted to my IDE and google.

But I was thinking about this quote: I started messing with code when I was 10 in VB3, everything I learned was a product of internet searches, and chat rooms on Aol scoff if you must. There's nothing wrong with needing to research something, google, videos, open source code, and friends are what enable us to be better.

I think that the notion of developers using Google or Bing as a crutch is somewhat of a microcosm to the Internet, computers and technology as a whole.

Is it a good idea to just copy and paste code without truly understanding what you're doing? And I do realize that there has definitely been a huge shift in how our brains work particularly when it comes to memory and long-term storage over the last 20 years pretty much since the dawn of web browsers and the World Wide Web went mainstream, but to say that using the Internet detracts from you as a developer would be like saying that using books, a better IDE or faster computer is also a form of "cheating".

On the other hand, faster computers and better IDEs don't give you the answers and let you skip over all of the analytical read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow just to read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow a quick answer to why you're getting a NullPointerException so I guess the argument could be made either way.

Saturday, August 24, I agree that excessive reliance on the internet can potentially turn a developer into a 'cut n paster'. But, is there any value in being able to memorise the contents of MSDN? An important aspect of being a software developer is decision making on topics like problem identification, non framework selection, application of algorithms, design patterns etc If you are the decision maker and you reach out to a platform like StackoverFlow to verify your ideas before they are set in stone, is there really anything wrong with that?

I don't think so. For me Google is a productivity tool. Maybe read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow good test for us all would be a 30 challenge without cut n pasting code from the internet Plz send me the code. Like several of the previous commenters this hit a bit too close to home to be comfortable A good hash table, not so much, and a priority queue might take some time a lot probably.

To me, the problem with google, SO and their likes is that when the answers are readily available it can ba hard not to take the shortcut instead of trying to figure out how to do stuff; and in the end it leads to programmers who can't really solve any problems without help. Saturday, August 24, 1: I honestly believe I fall read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow the latter category I think the true test of the question is whether you could pass a grilling job interview.

However, ultimately, is that really a good test of what you're capable of creating? I got back into C, with an opportunity to create a gui tool and learned the toolkit solely through Google and by reading message boards. The tool was ultimately released by my company and is one of the most focused and intuitive we have.

I'm currently learning Android almost exclusively through Stack Overflow. So, in summary, while it's true that a 'real' developer would likely be quicker with a task, what ultimately matters is the end product. And, the end product, at least if you're dealing with GUI, is a mixture of many many more things beyond just programming prowess.

I love the fact that you took the time to answer this! I think all of us who program for a living use google, stack overflow, msdn It is a very rare thing if I actually copy code but I have done it and will do it again if the code works perfectly for what I'm trying to do.

It's always nice to send read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow thank you email to whoever was kind enough to post the code. I think the key is, do you change what you're trying to do to fit the code you've found or do you use the ideas you found to craft what you're trying to do?

I equate it to music. A musician friend of mine who writes songs says that there's nothing really new under the sun. Every piece read and write binary file in vbscript stack overflow music has some element of another and that's okay.

I was just thinking this today! I am a total Googler and not much of a developer really. I really love this post. I, like the others others here, have felt the same. I really think think its a function of how much I like the problem. But Scott, as a fan of your edutainment I gotta know Whats your preferred platform?

There is nothing wrong with being good at Googling. In fact, I believe that pretty much the only thing that separates a junior developer from a mid-level and a senior is the ability to find your own answers to problems.

Also, yes, we did write programs before the intertubes, but in today's world the number of disparate layers, frameworks, and choices etc are vastly larger.

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A Buffer is an amount of contiguous memory set aside for storing information. A program has to remember certain things, like what your shopping cart contains or what data was inputted prior to the current operation.

This information is stored in memory in a buffer. In locating potentially vulnerable code from a buffer overflow standpoint, one should look for particular signatures such as:. A program might want to keep track of the days of the week 7. The programmer tells the computer to store a space for 7 numbers. This is an example of a buffer. But what happens if an attempt to add 8 numbers is performed?

This can cause the program to crash at a minimum or a carefully crafted overflow can cause malicious code to be executed, as the overflow payload is actual code. Buffer overflows are the result of stuffing more code into a buffer than it is meant to hold. It can be used to tailor primitive C data types to human readable form.

They are used in nearly all C programs to output information, print error messages, or process strings. Through supplying the format string to the format function we are able to control the behaviour of it. So supplying input as a format string makes our application do things it's not meant to! What exactly are we able to make the application do? This cannot be detected at compile time. At runtime this issue shall surface. In this way the function walks the stack downwards reading the corresponding values from the stack and printing them to the user.

Using format strings we can execute some invalid pointer access by using a format string such as:. Where to look for this potential vulnerability. This issue is prevalent with the printf family of functions, printf ,fprintf , sprintf , snprintf. The binary representation of 0x7fffffff is ; this integer is initialized with the highest positive value a signed long integer can hold. Think of the problems this may cause!!

Compilers will not detect this and the application will not notice this issue. We get these issues when we use signed integers in comparisons or in arithmetic and also when comparing signed integers with unsigned integers.

Here if v2 is a massive negative number so the if condition shall pass. This condition checks to see if v2 is bigger than the array size. The code above is not vulnerable to buffer overflow as the copy functionality uses a specified length, C library functions such as strcpy , strcat , sprintf and vsprintf operate on null terminated strings and perform no bounds checking.

The scanf family of functions also may result in buffer overflows. Using strncpy , strncat , snprintf , and fgets all mitigate this problem by specifying the maximum string length. The details are slightly different and thus understanding their implications is required. These functions perform additional checks for error conditions and call an error handler on failure.

NET framework can be immune to buffer overflows if the code is managed. Managed code is code executed by a. NET virtual machine, such as Microsoft's. Before the code is run, the Intermediate Language is compiled into native code. The Java development language also does not suffer from buffer overflows; as long as native methods or system calls are not invoked, buffer overflows are not an issue.

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