Feeds

Microsoft takes Gazelle secure browser on road trip

About that performance...

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Microsoft will next month present its browser-as-operating-system project to an international symposium of computer and security experts.

The Microsoft Research team behind Gazelle plans to discuss the architecture and principles behind their baby at the Usenix Security Symposium in Montreal, Canada.

Gazelle is designed to answer the growing problems of security, rendering, and performance caused by the increasing reliance on the browser in the course of day-to-day computer use.

AJAX is widely used by websites, and nowadays, people access multiple sites simultaneously. But AJAX poses a security threat through cross-site scripting, potentially providing hackers with access to a PC, while multiple tabbed browsing can slow performance and cause systems to crash.

Gazelle is a kernel that tries to sidestep these issues by treating the browser as a self-contained operating system. It's designed to protect website instances from each other and from the host machine by managing access to the PC's underlying resources.

Microsoft senior researcher Helen Wang working on Gazelle said Microsoft's work could lead to browsers evolving into multi-principal - translated: multiple website - operating systems. "Web applications would take a giant step forward in functionality and quality."

"I would like to see Web applications achieve function and quality parity with desktop apps," Wang said on the Microsoft Research site. "That's the ultimate goal of this research."

Work from Microsoft Research generally feeds into the company's products. Head of Research Rick Rashid recently noted his early work on data compression, networking, and operating systems went into Windows - an annual, multi-billion-dollar franchise for the company.

This latest work on Gazelle comes as others in the industry are thinking in terms of taking the browser to its next level.

Mozilla Labs last month launched a competition to re-invent the whole idea of tabbed browsing to cleanly and easily create, navigate, and manage multiple websites within the same browser instance. "Today, 20 plus parallel sessions are quite common; the browser is more of an operating system than a data display application," Mozilla Labs said.

Microsoft's early results with Gazelle have been mixed.

A version of the company's Internet Explorer built on Gazelle proved to be slower and use more resources than IE 7 on new tabs for a blank page and for navigating a number of sites. The Gazelle model only beat IE 7 on start-up times. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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!
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
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.