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2 definitions found
 for buffer overflow
From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  buffer overflow
   n.
  
      What happens when you try to stuff more data into a buffer (holding area)
      than it can handle. This problem is commonly exploited by crackers to get
      arbitrary commands executed by a program running with root permissions.
      This may be due to a mismatch in the processing rates of the producing and
      consuming processes (see overrun and firehose syndrome), or because the
      buffer is simply too small to hold all the data that must accumulate before
      a piece of it can be processed. For example, in a text-processing tool that
      crunches a line at a time, a short line buffer can result in lossage as
      input from a long line overflows the buffer and trashes data beyond it.
      Good defensive programming would check for overflow on each character and
      stop accepting data when the buffer is full up. The term is used of and by
      humans in a metaphorical sense. ?What time did I agree to meet you? My
      buffer must have overflowed.? Or ?If I answer that phone my buffer is going
      to overflow.? See also spam, overrun screw.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  buffer overflow
  buffer overrun
  
      What happens when you try to store more data in
     a buffer than it can handle.  This may be due to a mismatch
     in the processing rates of the producing and consuming
     processes (see overrun and firehose syndrome), or because
     the buffer is simply too small to hold all the data that must
     accumulate before a piece of it can be processed.  For
     example, in a text-processing tool that crunches a line at a
     time, a short line buffer can result in lossage as input
     from a long line overflows the buffer and overwrites data
     beyond it.  Good defensive programming would check for
     overflow on each character and stop accepting data when the
     buffer is full.
  
     See also spam, overrun screw.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1996-05-13)
  

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