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AMD, Microsoft pair up for security

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Advanced Micro Devices is promoting computer security through processor design.

The chipmaker on Wednesday announced that it has included a feature inside its Athlon 64 and Opteron processors for PCs and servers that will help combat certain computer viruses and worms. The feature, which will work in concert with Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, will be switched on later this year when Microsoft releases its Service Pack 2 update for the OS. AMD also unveiled this week its Alchemy Au1550, a processor for networking gear that comes with a built-in security engine.

As businesses and consumers become more aware of security and begin placing more emphasis on it, chipmakers such as AMD, Intel, Transmeta and Via Technologies have responded with efforts to add more security features to their chips and related hardware. Together, the AMD and Microsoft security features are designed to offer consumers and businesses greater security when sending e-mail or browsing the Web. The Alchemy Au1550 will bolster network security, such as virtual private networks, the company said.

"Computer security has become one of the most important issues in both the home and enterprise, and AMD and Microsoft recognize that it will take a strong combination of hardware and software to battle malicious code," Marty Seyer, general manager of AMD's Microprocessor Business Unit, said in a statement. AMD's Athlon 64 and Opteron security features will work with Windows XP Service Pack 2's Data Execution Prevention feature to prevent buffer overrun exploits, a common method used to attack computers. A buffer overrun or overflow essentially overwhelms a computer's defense systems and then inserts a malicious program in memory that the processor subsequently executes.

News source: C|net

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