Microsoft to launch BrowserShield

Written by Ryan Garside

September 5, 2006 | 14:11

Tags: #adware #browser #does #how #internet-explorer #it #malware #security #work

The whole net seems to be filled with nasty things these days, adware, spyware, viruses and the like plague our browsing experience. Soon though, all surfing security worries could be a thing of the past - with the launch of BrowserShield, a Microsoft endorsed, on-the-fly code checker that should help stop malware from getting on peoples computers in real time.

The new security program, being developed by Microsoft's Research Systems & Networking Research Group was intended to provide an answer to the problem of zero-day browser exploits (like the Windows Metafile attack of December '05) and insecure unpatched web browsers.

Helen Wang, the head of the project had this to say:

"This can provide another layer of security, even on unpatched browsers. If a patch isn't available, a BrowserShield - enabled tool bar can be used to clean pages hosting malicious content.""

BrowserShield will check all code before it loads up removing anything that it deems malicious. How this will affect websites will only be determinable when the software has actually been launched, however, the intention is that it will protect less technically minded users from themselves. The primary goal will be to help them avoid popup download prompts which actually contain viruses, a favourite method for hackers to attack the innocent. A secondary effect will mean viruses won’t be able to spread as easily, making the whole net a safer more efficient place.

This may come as a bit of a blow to various search engines who are working on black lists for websites that contain malware. Wang explains:

“BrowserShield can enable a much more powerful way of doing this safe search. Basically, even for a malicious site that is not already blacklisted, BrowserShield can help prevent it from doing known bad things, such as exploiting a vulnerability of a browser.”

A dynamic form of defence for a dynamic form of attacks can only be a good thing. Will hackers simply find a way round this? Let us know your view in the forums.
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