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Processors will protect against buffer overflow

Businesses will soon gain more protection against virus attacks, thanks to Microsoft software and processor technology from chip...

Businesses will soon gain more protection against virus attacks, thanks to Microsoft software and processor technology from chip manufacturer AMD.

AMD's Athlon 64, 64FX and Operton chips contain Execution Protection technology to prevent virus attacks that employ a technique called buffer overflow, although it cannot yet be activated. Microsoft's Service Pack 2 for Windows XP will activate the protection.

Graham Titterington, principal analyst at Ovum, said Execution Protection could significantly reduce the virus threat to businesses. He said, "This is long overdue. Buffer overflow is used in a lot of hacker attacks.

"It could mean that over half of the viruses that are out there today would no longer be a threat."

A buffer overflow overwhelms the computer's buffer memory space with data before inserting a malicious code, which is then executed by the processor.

Intel is developing a similar technology called La Grande, which will be available in the next two to three years.

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