When your are working with numbers in any programming language you are subject to overflows. An overflow happens when the value of number is bigger than the maximum possible value offered by the machine.

For example if you’re using an unsigned integer in Solidiy. The possible values of your variable ranges from 0 to 2^256 (1.1579209e+77). So it means that if you’re around the maximum value and increment your variable it will go back to 0. The same happens if your variable is at 0 and you substract one, instead of overflow it’s called underflow.

To prevent this kind of problems in your code we advise you to always use the SafeMath librairy when you’re dealing with number operations.

The library will help you check for overflows in case of addition, underflow in case of substractions as well as when performing multiplications and divisions.

For example the following code replaces the addition operator of Solidity to prevent overflows:

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```
function add(uint256 a, uint256 b) internal pure returns (uint256)
{
uint256 c = a + b;
require(c >= a, "SafeMath: addition overflow");
return c;
}
```

To use the SafeMath library to protect your smart contracts, just include the code of the library (available at the end of the article) and initialize the use of the library in your library like this:

`using SafeMath for uint256;`

Then when you are doing numeric operation in your smart contract, instead of using the traditional +, -, *, /, % use the following: add, sub, mul, div.

for example:

```
contract Counter {
using SafeMath for uint256;
uint256 counter = 0;
function incrment() public {
counter = counter.add(1);
}
function decrement() public {
counter = counter.sub(1);
}
}
```

The complete code of the library is available here for you to use in your smart contracts:

```
pragma solidity ^0.6.0;
/**
* @dev Wrappers over Solidity's arithmetic operations with added overflow
* checks.
*
* Arithmetic operations in Solidity wrap on overflow. This can easily result
* in bugs, because programmers usually assume that an overflow raises an
* error, which is the standard behavior in high level programming languages.
* `SafeMath` restores this intuition by reverting the transaction when an
* operation overflows.
*
* Using this library instead of the unchecked operations eliminates an entire
* class of bugs, so it's recommended to use it always.
*/
library SafeMath {
/**
* @dev Returns the addition of two unsigned integers, reverting on
* overflow.
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `+` operator.
*
* Requirements:
* - Addition cannot overflow.
*/
function add(uint256 a, uint256 b) internal pure returns (uint256) {
uint256 c = a + b;
require(c >= a, "SafeMath: addition overflow");
return c;
}
/**
* @dev Returns the subtraction of two unsigned integers, reverting on
* overflow (when the result is negative).
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `-` operator.
*
* Requirements:
* - Subtraction cannot overflow.
*/
function sub(uint256 a, uint256 b) internal pure returns (uint256) {
return sub(a, b, "SafeMath: subtraction overflow");
}
/**
* @dev Returns the subtraction of two unsigned integers, reverting with custom message on
* overflow (when the result is negative).
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `-` operator.
*
* Requirements:
* - Subtraction cannot overflow.
*/
function sub(uint256 a, uint256 b, string memory errorMessage) internal pure returns (uint256) {
require(b <= a, errorMessage);
uint256 c = a - b;
return c;
}
/**
* @dev Returns the multiplication of two unsigned integers, reverting on
* overflow.
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `*` operator.
*
* Requirements:
* - Multiplication cannot overflow.
*/
function mul(uint256 a, uint256 b) internal pure returns (uint256) {
// Gas optimization: this is cheaper than requiring 'a' not being zero, but the
// benefit is lost if 'b' is also tested.
// See: https://github.com/OpenZeppelin/openzeppelin-contracts/pull/522
if (a == 0) {
return 0;
}
uint256 c = a * b;
require(c / a == b, "SafeMath: multiplication overflow");
return c;
}
/**
* @dev Returns the integer division of two unsigned integers. Reverts on
* division by zero. The result is rounded towards zero.
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `/` operator. Note: this function uses a
* `revert` opcode (which leaves remaining gas untouched) while Solidity
* uses an invalid opcode to revert (consuming all remaining gas).
*
* Requirements:
* - The divisor cannot be zero.
*/
function div(uint256 a, uint256 b) internal pure returns (uint256) {
return div(a, b, "SafeMath: division by zero");
}
/**
* @dev Returns the integer division of two unsigned integers. Reverts with custom message on
* division by zero. The result is rounded towards zero.
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `/` operator. Note: this function uses a
* `revert` opcode (which leaves remaining gas untouched) while Solidity
* uses an invalid opcode to revert (consuming all remaining gas).
*
* Requirements:
* - The divisor cannot be zero.
*/
function div(uint256 a, uint256 b, string memory errorMessage) internal pure returns (uint256) {
// Solidity only automatically asserts when dividing by 0
require(b > 0, errorMessage);
uint256 c = a / b;
// assert(a == b * c + a % b); // There is no case in which this doesn't hold
return c;
}
/**
* @dev Returns the remainder of dividing two unsigned integers. (unsigned integer modulo),
* Reverts when dividing by zero.
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `%` operator. This function uses a `revert`
* opcode (which leaves remaining gas untouched) while Solidity uses an
* invalid opcode to revert (consuming all remaining gas).
*
* Requirements:
* - The divisor cannot be zero.
*/
function mod(uint256 a, uint256 b) internal pure returns (uint256) {
return mod(a, b, "SafeMath: modulo by zero");
}
/**
* @dev Returns the remainder of dividing two unsigned integers. (unsigned integer modulo),
* Reverts with custom message when dividing by zero.
*
* Counterpart to Solidity's `%` operator. This function uses a `revert`
* opcode (which leaves remaining gas untouched) while Solidity uses an
* invalid opcode to revert (consuming all remaining gas).
*
* Requirements:
* - The divisor cannot be zero.
*/
function mod(uint256 a, uint256 b, string memory errorMessage) internal pure returns (uint256) {
require(b != 0, errorMessage);
return a % b;
}
}
```

You can also get it from the Open Zeppelin contract collection.