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Sandbox style browser could make hacker's lives more difficult

CyberArk Software : 15 July, 2009  (Technical Article)
Cyber Ark believes that Microsoft's planned new web browser will make the home computing environment a lot more secure against external attacks
Microsoft's planned `super-sandbox' Web browser - code-name Gazelle and due to be released later this year - may turn out to be the best means of protecting users' PCs against the vagaries of the World Wide Web, says Cyber-Ark, the digital data vaulting specialist.

'Memory sandboxing has been proven time and time again as a highly effective method of creating a relatively bullet-proof environment in which to run potentially risky applications, as the environment disappears entirely when the sandbox is closed,' said Mark Fullbrook, Cyber-Ark's UK and Ireland director.

'This is not dissimilar to our segmented approach to storing company critical and private data, keeping access to the main company data completely separate to the private information,' he added.

According to Fullbrook, Gazelle's planned segmented approach to the PC environment will similarly make it a lot harder for hackers to steal data from PCs accessing the Internet.

Unlike previous sandbox browser approaches, he says, Gazelle mixes the features of a browser with that of an operating system, giving protection to Internet users from malicious or unstable code targeted at Internet users from adverts, and other content whose origins cannot be fully trusted.

It's important to realise that Web browsers have evolved from being a flat data sheet viewer like a text file notepad to a rich media viewer that assembles data dynamically from across the Internet, he explained.

This 3D approach to viewing data is an exciting option for most Internet users, but, he said, for IT security managers, it's often a complete nightmare. And that, he added, is just for company users of the Internet. For home and consumer users of the Web the stakes are potentially even
higher, owing to their having fewer IT security resources at their fingertips.

'When Microsoft reveals the gameplan for Gazelle at next month's Usenix Security Symposium in Montreal, Canada, there are going to be some very interesting developments,' he said.

'Just as our silo approach to storing private data is being adopted by a number of players in the data security space, so we expect the sandbox features of Gazelle to be picked up by the browser software mainstream,' he added.

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