Windows 7’s kernel is zipped up tightly against buffer overflow attacks, or at least more so than previous OSes.  Microsoft has added safe unlinking to the already in use protections known as Data Execution Prevention and Address Space Layout Randomization which help prevent against overflow attacks.  The basic idea in this new preventative measure is to check each memory block before it is deallocated, and returning a fatal error if that blocks integrity has been compromised.  Drop by The Register for a brief overview.

“Microsoft engineers have fortified the latest version of Windows with a feature designed to make it significantly harder for attackers to exploit bugs that may be lurking deep inside the operating system.

The safeguard is called safe unlinking, and it’s been dropped into a part of the Windows 7 kernel that allocates and deallocates chunks of memory. Safe unlinking performs a series of checks before entries are removed to make sure attackers aren’t trying to exploit the operating system using what’s known as a pool overrun.”

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