A Compiler-Hardware Technique for Protecting Against Buffer Overflow Attacks

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Executive Summary

Buffer overflow attacks are widely acknowledged by computer security professionals to be one of the greatest threats to the security of computer systems. It presents an integrated software hardware approach to protect against buffer overflow attacks while minimizing performance degradation, software development time, and deployment costs. Its technique does not change the processor core, but instead adds a hardware module in the form of a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) that sits between cache and memory and that is able to defend return addresses from buffer overflow attacks. Its solution exhibits neither the performance overhead of software solutions nor the CPU redesign costs of hardware solutions.

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