Windows XP Service Pack 2 SupportWindows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) incorporates a massive revamping of the core security architecture of Windows XP. The security technologies built into SP2 represent a quantum leap in Windows XP’s ability to resist malicious attacks.

Windows XP SP2 addresses areas that have been the main targets of malicious software — what Microsoft calls “malware.” These critical security areas improved by SP2 include Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs), DCOM, Windows Firewall (previously called Internet Connection Firewall or ICF), and preventing the execution of any malicious, unauthorized programs.

Microsoft groups security enhancements of SP2 into five categories. Although these technologies do not eliminate the need for promptly downloading periodic security updates from Microsoft, they do bolster the core ability of Windows XP to defend against malicious attacks.

1. Network Protection
These security technologies help provide better protection against network-based attacks, like MSBlaster, through enhancements to Windows Firewall and a reduced RPC attack surface. SP2 innovations include:

  • Turning on Windows Firewall in default installations
  • Closing ports except when they are in use
  • Improved user interface for configuration
  • Improved application compatibility when Windows Firewall is activated
  • Enhanced Windows Firewall enterprise administration through Group Policy
  • Reduced RPC attack surface
  • Added restrictions on access control of DCOM infrastructure to reduce exposure to network attack
2. Memory Protection
Windows XP Service Pack 2Some attacks try to cause excessive data to be copied into computer memory, causing what are called buffer overruns or overflows. SP2 reduces the vulnerability of Windows to buffer overflows by protecting memory using tags that either allow or deny executables to launch. This No Execute (NX) scheme is currently supported by AMD Athlon and Opteron chips. The newest Intel Prescott-based Pentium 4 chips will also support NX.

Hardware-enforced Data Execution Prevention (DEP) uses the CPU to mark all memory locations in an application as non-executable, unless the location explicitly contains executable code. This way, when an attacking worm or virus inserts program code into a portion of memory that is marked for data only, an application or Windows component will not run it.

3. Safer Email Handling
Windows XP Service Pack 2 Enhanced SecurityNew SP2 security technologies help stop viruses such as SoBig.F that spread through email and instant messaging. More defensive default settings and better attachment control isolates potentially unsafe attachments before they harm other parts of the system.

When Internet Explorer analyzes the content of a Web page or downloaded file, it decides how to handle the file based on the MIME type assignments and an analysis of the content itself. SP2 automatically renames a file to match its true content before placing the file in the Internet cache. It also prevents promoting one MIME type to another (text to HTML, for example) if the second MIME type has additional functionality.

4. Enhanced Browsing Security
Windows XP Service Pack 2 Enhanced Browsing SecurityWindows XP SP2 includes security enhancements to Internet Explorer which provide improved protection against malicious web content. For example, the Local Machine zone is locked down to guard against running hostile scripts and block harmful web downloads. Better user controls and interfaces help prevent malicious ActiveX controls and spyware from running without the user’s knowledge.

5. Improved Computer Maintenance
SP2 introduces the Security Center to provide a central location for information about your computer’s security. SP2 also includes the new Windows Installer, which provides more security options for software installation.

How Progent Can Help
Windows XP Service Pack 2 is available for free downloading from Microsoft’s web site. Progent’s Microsoft-certified consultants can assist you in planning a pilot evaluation of SP2 or a company-wide deployment. Progent can also help you understand how this important new software can benefit your business. For more information, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

Click here to go to the table of contents of the IT Connection newsletter.

© 2002- 2019 Progent Corporation. All rights reserved.

An index of content::

BlackBerry Software Integration Companies Network Integration for BlackBerry Smartphone in Sedgwick County Kansas
Cisco ASA firewall VPN Online Help Online Consulting
Cisco CCIE Software Consulting Firm Microsoft Network Small Business IT Outsourcing Group
Cisco Information Technology Consultants Cisco Support Outsourcing DC
Cisco Online Support Services Indiana Network Installation for Cisco
Computer Network Consulting for Microsoft and Cisco Help Desk Information Technology Consulting Company Maricopa County Arizona
Contractor for Security Consultant Cisco CCIE Voice Network Support Part Time Jobs Plano Texas
Cupertino Computer Consultancy Firms Saratoga Migration
Design Consultants for Cisco Chicago South Side Support Organization
Dynamics GP Development Specialist Global Professional for Dynamics GP SmartList Builder
Exchange 2016 Systems Engineer Exchange 2003 Server Network Documentation
Fort Lauderdale, FL Technology Support for Progent Startup Businesses Exchange Server 2007 Technology Providers Riverside - Ontario
IT Consultant for Red Hat Linux, Sun Solaris, UNIX Support and Integration for Ubuntu Linux, Sun Solaris, UNIX
Louisville Outsource IT Louisville, KY Design Consultants
Microsoft SharePoint Server IT Consulting Microsoft SharePoint Server IT Services
Network Designers Largest Microsoft SQL 2014 Computer Support Consultants
North Dakota Design Company Worldwide North Dakota Small Business Computer Consulting Company
On-Call Services Cisco Assessment North Dakota
Outsourcing for Red Hat Linux, Sun Solaris, UNIX Technology Consulting
Progent Small Business Computer Specialists Network Solutions for Cisco Houston Texas
Progent Start-Up Businesses Network Providers Virginia Small Business IT Consulting Company
Progent Start-Up Companies Computer Expert Computer Outsourcing Consultant for Urgent Network in Carrollton
Progent Startup Companies Consultancy Firms Birmingham Ubuntu Linux, Solaris, UNIX Integration Services
SQL 2012 Solutions Provider Computer Network Support Company Glendale
San Francisco Progent Small Offices Small Office Computer Consulting Services El Paso County Texas Windows Server 2012 R2 Small Office Computer Consultant
Security Consulting Group for Progent Start-Up Company in San Rafael, California Worldwide Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Online Help Fort Worth North Texas
SharePoint Server 2010 On-site Technical Support IT Consultants
SonicWALL Forensics Services Security Firms for SonicWALL VPN
Technology Consulting Company for Progent Small Business Milpitas, CA Systems Consultant for Plano, TX
Upgrade for Exchange 2003 Server Online Support
Windows Server 2016 Implementation Support Chicagoland Windows Server 2012 R2 Networking Services
Zero Downtime Network Network Consultants Emergency Engineer for Zero Downtime Network