Cyber attacks often involve malicious code. If an attacker gains access to your business’s network, he or she may execute malicious code on it. The malicious code may wipe some of your business’s data, take your business’s network offline or result in other forms of harm. Regardless, code-related cyber attacks such as these are typically the result of arbitrary code execution.

The Basics of Arbitrary Code Execution

Arbitrary code execution is a cyber attack in which a hacker is able to execute code or commands without the victim’s knowledge. During an arbitrary code execution attack, the attacker will execute malicious code. If your business’s network is targeted by an arbitrary code execution attack, you may not notice it until it’s too late. By the time you discover the attack, your business’s data could be lost or stolen.

Vulnerabilities That Lead to Arbitrary Code Execution

For an attacker to execute code or commands on your business’s network, the attacker must first gain access to it. Arbitrary code execution typically proceeds the exploitation of a vulnerability. The attacker will exploit a vulnerability so that he or she can gain access to your business’s network. Only after gaining access to your business’s network can the attacker execute malicious code.

Buffer overflows are a common type of vulnerability that can lead to arbitrary code execution. Also known as buffer overruns, they occur when data is written to a storage device. Buffer overflows involve data being written outside of its boundaries.

Deserialization can lead to arbitrary code execution as well. Deserialization allows attackers to execute malicious code by using untrusted data. Other common types of vulnerabilities that can lead to arbitrary code execution include type confusion vulnerabilities and GNU LDD vulnerabilities.

How to Prevent Arbitrary Code Execution

How do you prevent arbitrary code execution exactly? Ensuring that all of your business’s computers and devices are running up-to-date software will minimize the risk of an arbitrary code execution attack. Most of these attacks stem from a vulnerability, and vulnerabilities are rampant in outdated software.

Using strong passwords can protect your business from arbitrary code execution attacks. Strong passwords are particularly important for high-level user accounts with privileged access. If an admin user has a weak password, an attacker may be able to crack it. The attacker may then use the admin account to execute malicious code.

You should implement strong security measures on all endpoints connected to your business’s network. It only takes a single compromised endpoint to cause an arbitrary code execution attack. Beefing up your business’s endpoints will help to protect it from a variety of cyber attacks, including arbitrary code execution attacks.