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Researchers Say Gazelle Browser Offers Better Security

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Researchers at various universities are working with Microsoft Research to develop a more secure Web browser code-named Gazelle. The researchers recently demonstrated Gazelle on Windows Vista and with Internet Explorer's Trident renderer, and have also published a paper describing the project. Gazelle uses a browser-based operating system, a browser kernel that consists of approximately 5,000 lines of C# code and can withstand memory attacks. "No existing browsers, including new architectures like IE 8, Google Chrome, and OP [another experimental browser], have a multi-principal OS construction that gives a browser-based OS, typically called browser kernel, the exclusive control to manage the protection and fair-sharing of all system resources among browser principals," the authors write. The principals, or Web sites, communicate with each other by passing messages through the browser kernel, which manages security and the sharing of system resources. The browser uses separate processes to run a Web page and its embedded principals. Still in the prototype stage, Gazelle is slow because of its level of overhead, and the team also will have to address the browser plug-in issue.

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