Security-conscious processors

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jan 12, 2004

AMD and Intel prep technology to prevent buffer overflows at the hardware level.

IT news site Silicon.com has published an article about hardware security in CPUs to prevent buffer overflows.

The article reports that AMD Athalon 64 chips already contain the necessary circuitry, which won't be activated until Microsoft releases Service Pack 2 for Windows XP - around April or May 2004. According to AMD's Director of Marketing, this should also provide enough time for AMD to think up a catchy marketing term.

The article reports that Intel will also be putting similar technology into Prescott, the next generation of Pentium 4 chips, expected next month.

How much will this do to prevent the spread of viruses? That depends. Relatively few prolific viruses use buffer overflows to exploit systems - notable recent exceptions being SQL/Slammer and W32/Blaster. Nevertheless, buffer overflows remain a threat, and neither of these viruses was inconsequential - both caused widespread damage. Of course, any technology that saves users from themselves by tightening security on their machines is welcome.

Posted on 12 January 2004 by Virus Bulletin

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