Feeds

HP loads PC with nonexistent web browser

Firefox sandboxed

The essential guide to IT transformation

HP is now offering desktop PCs with virtual web browsers.

Today, the hardware maker unleashed the HP Compaq dc7900, a business desktop with a version of Firefox that isn't really there. Developed in tandem with Symantec, the Firefox for HP Virtual Solutions browser operates in a runtime netherworld that's separate from the rest of the machine.

This means that when malware attacks, the machine itself is unharmed. "[This virtual Firefox browser] ensures that employees can utilize the World Wide Web productively, while keeping business PCs stable and easier to support," writes Symantec technical product manager Scott Jones. "Changes made to a PC while surfing the Web are contained in a 'virtual layer' and do not permanently alter the machine."

Basically, the browser sits in a "sandbox" cooked up by Symantec's Software Virtualization Solution (SVS), a tool the company acquired with its purchase of Altiris. Scott Jones did not return our calls seeking additional info, but in the bloggy thing he posted today, he points out that if anything goes wrong, SVS lets you instantly restore the browser to its original setup - without hosing your user settings.

Symtanec sees this as a turning point in the history of nonexistent software apps - as opposed to nonexistent OSes. "This is a key milestone event in the evolution of application virtualization as a concept," read a canned statement from Ken Berryman, Symantec VP of Endpoint Virtualization. "Application virtualization is no longer an emerging technology. It has arrived. Application virtualization is now mainstream."

Unlike VMware or Microsoft's Virtual PC, SVS doesn't virtualize an entire OS. It virtualizes individual applications, installing them in packages that remain separate from a machine's registry. This means apps can be reset or removed without wreaking some sort of havoc with the rest of the system. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?