Hardware-enforced DEP (Data Execution Prevention) protects against WMF exploit



December 30th, 2005

Sunbelt have discovered (and I have confirmed this) that systems equipped with hardware-enforced DEP (Data Execution Prevention) are protected against the WMF exploit, while those relying only on software-DEP are not.

But what is DEP?  Here is how Microsoft explain it:

Data execution prevention (DEP) is a set of hardware and software technologies that perform additional checks on memory to help protect against malicious code exploits.  In Windows XP SP2, DEP is enforced by both hardware and software.

The article then goes on to explain the difference between hardware-enforced DEP and software-enforced DEP.

Check out now if you have hardware or software-enforced DEP:

Right-click on My Computer and choose Properties followed by Advanced.  Then, in the Performance section choose Settings.  Now click on the tab labeled Data Execution Prevention.  If your system is only protected by software-enforced DEP then you will see a message on the dialog box that says:

Your computer's processor does not support hardware-based DEP.  However, Windows can use DEP software to help prevent some types of attacks.

This WMF exploit is a great example of how new hardware can help protect against vulnerabilities and exploits.  It's a good reason to upgrade a PC!

This entry was posted on Friday, December 30th, 2005 at 10:13 and is filed under Stay Secure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Hardware-enforced DEP (Data Execution Prevention) protects against WMF exploit”

  1. Spyware Informer Says:

    The Zero-Day Exploit

    The new WMF exploit been all over the news lately. Why shouldn't it be? It's a huge security risk! How so? For one, it exploits a feature that almost every Windows PC has: a graphics rendering engine. I'm sure that many of you know what this is and ...