Feeds

Microsoft boffins devise 'secure' Gazelle browser

Better than IE and Chrome

The essential guide to IT transformation

Microsoft has developed a browser whose security it says beats many of today's generation of browsers, including Internet Explorer and Google's Chrome.

But there's catch or two: It's slower and uses more resources than IE 7, and you can't get your hands on it.

Microsoft Research has devised a prototype of IE running on Windows Vista where the browser acts like a self-contained operating system. The browser uses a kernel Microsoft Research calls Gazelle, and it's architecture is outlined in a recently published white paper available here (warning: PDF).

Gazelle was built to expose the challenges involved in constructing a secure browser, such as the ability to work with legacy code like DOM and JavaScript, cross-origin script source and cross-process display.

Gazelle is designed to address the fact that browsers like IE and Chrome have not been built by design to handle multiple processes or work securely across different domains. This slows their performance and exposes the browser and client to malicious code.

"Our prototype implementation and evaluation experience indicates that it is realistic to turn an existing browser into a multi-principal OS that yields significantly stronger security and robustness with acceptable performance and backward compatibility," Microsoft Research said.

The browser and Gazelle are unlikely to see the light of day as this was a Microsoft Research effort designed as a "what if" scenario. Also, the isolation process and need to funnel principal calls centrally seemed to slow things down and increase the memory demanded.

Gazelle was slower and required more memory than IE 7 on new tabs for a blank page and Google.com, navigating from Google.com to Google.com/ads and navigating to the NYtimes.com with a cross-origin frame. Gazelle only beat IE 7 on start-up.

Still, at least we know what's possible. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
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?