I’ve now received a couple of reports of stack overflow problems after people have upgraded to Norton Internet Security 2006. Here’s what I know so far.
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One reader ran into this problem after upgrading Norton Internet Security to the 2006 version. After a lot of effort and patience on his part, apparently Symantec admitted there was an issue, and advised him to revert to the 2005 version until the issue was addressed.
Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to confirm any of this independently – I don’t doubt my reader at all, but I do like to independently corroborate if at all possible. Unfortunately I’ve found nothing on the Symantec website. Yet.
I’m hopeful that it will eventually be addressed there. Keep track of the comments to this article as readers report in, and I’ll also update it as soon as I find out anything.
As to your original question, “what’s a stack overflow?” – well, for a simple phrase, it’s a fairly deeply technical answer. It has to do with how the computer itself manages data, and how the programs running on it utilize it.
Conceptually, a stack is just that … a stack of information. You can put things on the stack, and take things off of the stack. It sounds kinda useless, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s fundamental and incredibly useful on microprocessors.
Each program running has it’s own stack somewhere in the computer’s memory. But because there’s so much else going on in memory, each stack is only allocated so much room. Hopefully each program will a) allocate enough room to begin with, and b) not have a bug that would cause it to keep putting things onto the stack without taking them off. If you put too much on the stack … it overflows. What happens when you overflow a stack varies based on how the software is written.
What causes a stack overflow? Again, it varies a lot. It all depends on how the software in question was written. Ultimately, any stack overflow that you see is a bug, somewhere.