Microsoft Working On A New Secure Web Browser Gazelle?

Just when we thought the browser market was crowded enough, there is some news that Microsoft is working on a new browser named Gazelle. This news highly undermines the work Microsoft has put into developing Internet Explorer 8 [IE8].

Image of a Gazelle. Image Credit

More research on the topic led us to some technical papers that delve on what Microsoft Gazelle is all about. The information provided is more technical at this point, but it certainly tells us more about what this new web browser Gazelle from Microsoft will be like.

Web browsers originated as applications that people used to view static web sites sequentially. As web sites evolved into dynamic web applications composing content from various web sites, browsers have become multi-principal operating environments with resources shared among mutually distrusting web site {\it principals}. Nevertheless, no existing browsers, including new architectures like IE 8, Google Chrome, and OP, have a multi-principal operating system construction that gives a browser-based OS the exclusive control to manage the protection of all system resources among web site principals.

Looking at the basics of their research, it is more likely that the browser will work and perform like a operating system.

In this paper, we introduce Gazelle, a secure web browser constructed as a multi-principal OS. Gazelle’s Browser Kernel is an operating system that exclusively manages resource protection and sharing across web site principals. This construction exposes intricate design issues that no previous work has identified, such as legacy protection of cross-origin script source, and cross-principal, cross-process display and events protection. We elaborate on these issues and provide comprehensive solutions.

Our prototype implementation and evaluation experience indicates that it is realistic to turn an existing browser into a multi-principal OS that yields significantly stronger security and robustness with acceptable performance and backward compatibility.

Definitely looks like Gazelle will work more like a operating system, than a browser. Microsoft may already have this product under production, but a release date will only be speculative, since there is not much information available about this product.

However you can take a look at the Gazelle publication as well as download the technical research paper of this project.

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Keith Dsouza

I am the editor-in-chief and owner of Techie Buzz. I love coding and have contributed to several open source projects in the past. You can know more about me and my projects by visiting my Personal Website. I am also a social networking enthusiast and can be found active on twitter, you can follow Keith on twitter @keithdsouza. You can click on my name to visit my Google+ profile.