Feeds

Microsoft boffins devise 'secure' Gazelle browser

Better than IE and Chrome

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
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
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.