Secure Browser – A Sandboxed Firefox 3.6

image Controlling malware intrusion, while surfing the Net, through the use of a ‘”virtual” environment, rather than operating in a “real” environment, continues to make sense given the level of cyber criminal activity on the Internet.

In the last few months we’ve looked primarily at operating system virtualization – Shadow Defender, Returnil Virtual System, Wondershare Time Freeze, and a number of other similar applications. But, there are alternatives to OS virtualization – specific application virtualization running in a sandbox.

Dell, not generally noted for their free software, recently released (through their subsidiary, KACE Networks), Secure Browser, a virtualized version of Firefox 3.6, which according to KACE –

Changes or malicious files inadvertently downloaded from the Internet are contained within the secure browser, keeping the underlying OS and computer secure from hostile changes.

Any changes resulting from browser activity may be quickly and easily reset to effectively “undo” such changes and return it to its initially installed state.

Fast facts:

Provides a virtualized and contained Firefox v3.6 Browser with Adobe Reader and Flash plug-ins.

Rapidly reset any changes made during normal use back to their initial state, enabling easy recovery from infections or attacks.

View statistics related to the number of processes detected and blocked.

Set white and black lists to limit access to known good sites, or prevent access to known bad sites to further limit the risk of attack and infection.

Contrary to my usual practice, I have not tested this application. Instead, I’m reporting on it’s availability only.

System requirements: Windows 32 bit only.

Download at: KACE

Note: Registration required.

Alternative solutions:

Sandbox your current Browser in Sandboxie.

Run the Chrome Browser which includes a form of sandboxing.

Run Comodo Dragon a variation on Chrome with additional privacy controls.

Run Ubuntu while surfing the Web.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Browsers, Chrome, Comodo, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Firefox, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Google, Internet Safety Tools, Software, System Security, Ubuntu, Virtualization, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

16 responses to “Secure Browser – A Sandboxed Firefox 3.6

  1. Jose

    I find Sandboxie one (if not the one) of the best security applications around.
    I have to take the Chrome “form of sandboxing” with a pinch of salt… and pepper.
    As to Comodo Dragon, well, the Firewall and HIPS (Defense+) are a top-notch product. All the other Comodo’s products (Time Machine, Cloud Scanner, Back Up, Disk Encryption… etc.) I wouldn’t touch them if someone payed me (they are free). It feels as if they are always in Beta stage. Beware particularly of CTM. It can give you more than a headache.

    • Jose,

      I agree – Sandboxie is top of it’s class.

      You’ll notice I said “a form of sandboxing” in Chrome, and I’m well aware of the weaknesses in this “form” of sandbox. Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction. And, for an average user, it provides an increased level of protection they otherwise would not have. The evidence of its value can be seen in the increasing popularity of Chrome.

      Comodo Dragon is essentially Chrome with a few extra privacy tweaks, but with the same limited functionality in terms of the sandbox. Still. better than no sandbox.

      CTM is a piece of crap that destabilizes Windows. I have not yet seen a machine where it worked as advertised.


  2. Jose

    I agree that Chrome has become a popular browser. Even if I prefer FF, I must admit Chrome has its own qualities.
    But I’m glad you agree with me about CTM. Right before I posted this I was checking Comodo’s forums and there it was again: CPM (Comodo Program Manager) , wich was just released as a “functional” version, is not performing as promised.

  3. Liam O' Moulain

    So Jose, you don’t like Chrome (my favorite browser) – how about you explain why? I’d be interested in hearing exactly why we shouldn’t trust the Chrome sandbox. Your reasons Jose, based on your experience using Chrome, not something you dug up on some dreary cynical forum.

    Maybe you can explain why Chrome, in just 18 months, now holds 16% of the browser market, all of it at the expense of the competition. I guess these folks don’t know about the shitty sandbox huh?


  4. Jose

    “shitty sandbox”
    I never used those words. It’s your expression.
    I prefer FF to Chrome because it’s so configurable (FF). And that’s it.
    As to “form of sandbox” I’m glad Bill alerted to the fact. I didn’t know about it. I’ll “dig” (to use one of your words) into it.

  5. Mal

    Hey Bill,

    I use Sandoxie extensively. I generally only use Firefox for sites I consider safe and run Chrome in Sandboxie for general surfing. The benefits of this were driven home today when cruising one website in Chrome, MSE alerted me to a trojan. But it could cause no damage because I was running Sandboxie. That’s exactly why I use it.


  6. bokawel

    i have tried chrome and i always go back to FF after a few days. i don’t know why but being a FF user for so long it has become my first choice browser. though i have not fully explored chrome yet and i will do so soon. FF extensions just nails it for me. Adblock and WoT are my favourites. if chrome have these, then i will test the waters again…

    • Hi Bokawel,

      I face the same issue. I have so much invested in FF (add-ons, plug-ins, etc.), that I can’t use another browser for general purpose. I do keep my hand in with other browsers by using Chrome, and Opera, occasionally.

      Thank you for commenting.


  7. Ranjan

    So, most of the guys here are infected with a worm “Firefox”. lol…
    Not to mention, i too am and for the very reasons you guys stated above.
    Btw, seems that I’ll have to wait to try my hands on this ‘Pre-Sandboxed Firefox’.. No x64 version. . . .

    • Hey Ranjan,

      I just don’t understand the lack of availability of x64 applications. Don’t these people understand that 64 bit installations are the fastest growing market segment? Bizarre!


  8. Ranjan

    Ya, Bill. Afterall, 64 bit is the future.. Don’t know if,even this will put the ‘blindfold’ of 32 bit trend off their eyes..

  9. I’m just trying to find out if AVG antivirus will keep you from being able to open .jpg files sent as an attachment

  10. Thank you; I don’t know, we just haven’t been able to open the files (for class so surely they’re good ones) and thought I understood that some of the antiviruses had a feature in them that prevented it so thought that might be the problem. Again, thanks.