Chips to fight viruses

Friday, 9 January 2004, 1:36 PM EST

Advanced Micro Devices and Intel plan to release technology that will allow processors to stop many attacks before they occur.

Execution Protection by AMD, technology contained in AMD's Athlon 64 chips, prevents a buffer overflow, which is a common method used to attack computers. A buffer overflow essentially overwhelms a computer's defence systems and then inserts a malicious program in memory that the processor subsequently executes.

With Execution Protection, data in the buffer can only be read and, therefore, is prevented from doing its dirty work, John Morris, director of marketing at AMD, said in an interview on Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"Now in current processors, any programs that go into the memory overflow can be executed," he said. "With this, the system only allows read-only in the buffer. It will not execute." The malicious program is then disposed harmlessly when the PC is turned off, he said.

By Michael Kanellos at CNET.

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