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Web Hacking 101 by Peter Yaworski Book
A Buffer Overflow is a situation where a program writing data to a buffer, or area of memory, has more data to write than space that is actually allocated for that memory. Think of it in terms of an ice cube tray, you may have space to create 12 but only want to create 10. When filling the tray, you add too much water, and rather than fill 10 spots, you fill 11.
You have just overflowed the ice cube buffer. Buffer Overflows lead to erratic program behavior at best and a serious security vulnerability at worst. The reason is, with a Buffer Overflow, a vulnerable program begins to overwrite safe data with unexpected data, which may later be called upon.
If that happens, that overwritten code could be something completely different from what the program expects which causes an error. Or, a malicious hacker could use the overflow to write and execute malicious code.