AMD has ushered in the death of computer viruses with new chip technology, we are delighted to reveal.
Marketing director at the microprocessor company, John Morris, told the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, that its latest 64-bit chips will include circuitry that prevents buffer overflows from executing code.
A good percentage of viruses work by cleverly adding more code than can be included in an allocated temporary storage space. That extra code in a virus contains an executable program that can then run on your PC. As such the buffer is used as a backdoor to someone’s computer. In the new AMD chips, the buffer is read-only, so the threat is removed.
But not everything is as simple as that. AMD has in fact been talking about its new security chip since the middle of December 2003 and is delighted to have Microsoft on its side for a variety of complicated political reasons.
The chips will only work if working alongside a 64-bit operating system - and Microsoft is due to release its 64-bit XP version in the second quarter of next year. Unless you have both, the buffer security hole will remain.
Since Intel has yet to announce a similar buffer-restrictor in its chips (sparking reams of groundless speculation regarding the upcoming P4 chip), AMD is hoping to use the feature as a market-stealer and Microsoft, as we all know, is keen as mustard to look security conscious. Especially since a good chunk of its critical updates deal with buffer overflow issues.
Plus of course it may push people into upgrading to 64-bit technology - something they have shown a distinct lack of enthusiasm for so far. You must keep the processor and operating system rollercoaster going at all costs, so expect to hear a lot more about buffer overflows and superior 64-bit security in the forthcoming months.
Only a spoilsport would point out that this technology remains completely unproven and just possibly too good to be true.