Feeds

Microsoft boffins devise 'secure' Gazelle browser

Better than IE and Chrome

A new approach to endpoint data protection

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. ®

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
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.
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.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?