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Microsoft freshens retro code lock-down tool

Teaching old apps new tricks

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Microsoft has released a new version of a software tool that developers and administrators can use to harden older applications against common vulnerabilities.

Short for Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, EMET version 2.0 brings several new protections to operating systems and applications such as Windows XP or Internet Explorer 6, which remain widely used even though they are not as secure as more recent releases.

One additional protection is mandatory ASLR, or Address Space Layout Randomization, which loads executable code in different memory locations each time it is called. Making it hard to predict where shell code will be located significantly lessens the severity of attacks that exploit buffer overflows and similar software vulnerabilities.

Version 2 also offers Export Address Table Access Filtering, which is designed to break shell code by blocking access to the application programming interfaces it needs to be executed. The updated program also includes Structure Exception Handler Overwrite Protection (SEHOP), Data Execution Prevention (DEP), Heap Spray Allocation and Null Page Allocation, which were included in Version 1.

Microsoft first rolled out EMET in October.

Microsoft has also refurbished EMET's user interface and offered a 22-page user guide (PDF), as well as this training video. Thursday's announcement is here. ®

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