Data Execution Protection

By Rob Enderle  |  Posted 2004-05-25 Print this article Print

The Importance of Data Execution Protection (formerly called NX) One thing to remember is that the DEP component of SP2, which we covered in an earlier column back when it was called "NX" for "No Execute" at WinHEC, requires a processor that is enabled to run it.
Currently, the only processors on the market that do this are the AMD Athlon and Opteron 64 processors, and the Intel Itanium processors.
NX is designed to eliminate buffer overflow exploits, and these have been some of the most damaging and disruptive to date. Transmeta will have support for this shortly, Intel by the fourth quarter, and VIA (which hasnt yet announced) is expected to have it as well. Click here to read a column by Larry Seltzer on plans for NX features. Given that this will be one of the exposures that will continue to exist on most systems even after SP2 is installed, it would seem likely that the related exposure will be more aggressively attacked. This is true of desktops, laptops and servers. This is something to think about as you go through your hardware purchase plans. Realistically, you probably cant shift next years hardware upgrade budget into this year, but you should really think about how you are going to protect your users next year and factor that into your buy and build plans. Discovering the reality about these exposures is what many of these shows are good for, and given the attendance here and at other shows, it appears that large numbers of people understand this. SP2 is due in July or August, and application compatibility is what is holding the release up. It is currently in Release Candidate 1, and one more release candidate is expected before this service pack will be finalized. Now, if you didnt pick this up already, shows are back. They are a place to go to make contacts and get a better feel for vendor direction, and they can provide a view into the future that will be critical for business decisions. One of the core values here is the chance to talk to other IT folks and capture best practices, get the real stories underneath the products, and make contacts—which in this changing world could become invaluable to your continued employment. People often will favor those they know, and this is not only a good place to meet potential employers, but employees as well. There are people here who actually manage thousands of desktops and servers with teams that are well under 10 people. Understanding how they do that could protect you against being outsourced and/or provide financial benefits that could reflect favorably on you. There are three shows I recommend attending this year. TechEd, for the reasons already noted; Business4Site, a new Ziff conference designed to provide a forward-looking business outlook and develop contacts; and Comdex, which—despite pretenders—remains the most powerful IT technology show in the market for a variety of hardware and software vendors. Rob Enderle is the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a company specializing in emerging personal technology. Full disclosure: One of Enderles clients is Microsoft as well as Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Transmeta, VIA and Vulcan. In addition, Enderle sits on advisory councils for AMD, ClearCube, Comdex, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and TCG. Check out eWEEK.coms Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

Rob Enderle Rob Enderle Enderle Group 389 Photinia Lane San Jose, CA 95127

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