What Does Data Execution Prevention (DEP) Mean?
Data execution prevention (DEP) is a security feature within operating system that prevents applications from executing code from a non-executable memory location. DEP is a hardware and software enforced technology designed to secure against memory-based code exploits. It was first introduced in Windows XP Service Pack 2. It is also available in Linux and the Mac OS.
Techopedia Explains Data Execution Prevention (DEP)
DEP works by routinely scanning the memory heaps and stacks for actions of loading data into the memory. The hardware enforced DEP mechanism uses the CPU to mark all memory locations that are flagged with an attribute value for non-execution. Once an abnormality is detected in these locations in terms of code execution, an exception is sent to the primary OS security mechanism. Software enforced DEP only checks for an exception within the functions table of the primary application. This provides protection against security esploits like buffer overflow.