Microsoft working on ultra-secure browser

Microsoft working on ultra-secure browser Microsoft staff are working on an internet browser designed to be more secure than either Internet Explorer or any of its rivals. The project is still at the prototype stage and the browser still needs work to improve sluggish performance.

The researchers have just published a paper outlining the project, code-named Gazelle. It’s clearly not the major focus of Microsoft’s development as the researchers criticize the way Internet Explorer works.

Gazelle takes a key security features from IE8 and Google’s Chrome and takes it to the next level. Both those browsers aim to reduce security problems by changing the way computers handle situations where a user has multiple sites open in one browser using tabs.

The two systems both treat each tab as if it were a completely separate process in Windows. That not only reduces the likelihood of one frozen tab crashing the entire browser, but reduced the chances of security issues caused by secure and compromised Web pages running at the same time.

In Gazelle, every element of a Web page such as frames or plug-ins (for example streaming videos or Flash animations) is treated as a separate process. The browser also runs with its own kernel, effectively making it a separate operating system and allowing it to act more intelligently.

The downside of this system is that plug-ins have to be rewritten to work within the ‘one element/one process’ system. That could create a chicken and egg situation with independent plug-in makers unwilling to recode their products until such a browser was popular, and users unwilling to use the browser until plug-ins worked.

The researchers tested a prototype on the 20 busiest Web sites and found 19 worked largely as intended. However, the browser took almost twice as long as Internet Explorer 7 to load major Web sites and used considerably more memory just to display a simple page such as the homepage.