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Will the virtual web browser keep your PC safe?

I've become a bit of a fan of virtual machines - on those odd occasions when I need to run Windows I do it within a VM on the Mac using VMWare - which means I have a safe, secure installation I can move around and restore more easily than I ever could on my old PC.

I could see this approach working well in the business world - and so apparently can HP who have taken the idea (sort of) and applied it to the riskiest thing most people use - their web browser.

Enter stage left Firefox - the HP virtual browser edition. This uses application virtualisation technology from Symantec to contain Firefox within a virtual layer, effectively keeping any dodgy goings on in a sandbox. And just to satisfy everybody, it also claims it will load those sites that still insist that IE is required. Honestly - some people - who uses IE?

Interesting idea.

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Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 23 September, 2008, 13:32Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It's certainly an idea. The execution and sustainability of the 'sandbox' is questionable. One of the key features of java was that we could supposedly have complex applications effectively running in a (java) sandbox. It didn't quite work out that way and I notice that the vast majority of users visiting our site don't have java enabled. I can only assume it is for security reasons.

I like the idea of being able to use any web browser from any location or device and getting all my settings delivered to the browser when I open it (preferably sandboxed from the operating system - not least because we know the problems they can cause).

I'm over web passwords so I don't even want a sandboxed browser storing them or putting them into websites for me. I'd prefer to sign into websites using my mobile.

I like the concept of sandboxed browsers and even federated identity, but so far the execution has been flawed.

I can see a time when I'll log into my own home page and use my mobile to authenticate myself and have my settings then coming down automatically to whatever browser I'm currently using. The sites I use regularly will know it's me because of my original login, but the way it happens will be achieved differently than current attempts.

It'll be easier, and more secure.