Under control: how to protect your browser from cyber crime

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As the primary interface between a user's computer and the Internet, browsers have become a main target for a rising number of security threats. More than ever the Web browser is a central focus for cyber crime and its vulnerabilities are commonly exploited, particularly when users visit a malicious website.

Jon Ramsay, Executive Director, CTU, Dell SecureWorks revealed some astonishing numbers at this year’s Annual Analyst Conference (see Flickr images here.  SecureWorks deals with 13 billion attacks a day across its customer base and 20, 000 malware cases, which is approximately 40% of the total amount created every day. It certainly puts into perspective how vulnerable our data is online.

To help businesses combat some of these issues, Secure Browser is our free-to-download tool separates the Web browser from the device’s operating system through virtualisation, providing a safer web experience. Creating a virtual instance of an Internet browser application it functions as a normal browser would but all changes made to the system are contained within this virtual space. Any alterations or malicious files inadvertently downloaded from the Internet are separated keeping the overlying OS and computer protected from hostile changes.

Advantages of the Secure Browser include:

  • Easy to reset: changes from browser activity can be reset in the virtual space to undo alterations and return it to the initially installed state
  • Statistics: users are able to view data on the number of processes deleted and blocked
  • Control: optional enforcement and control provide further security as they limit exposure to attacks. Users can be alerted to approve the running of programmes and plug-ins, and white and black listing can be used to control what processes can be started, and which sites the browser can load data from.

The Secure Browser is an element of the KACE Management Appliance that can be trialled separately, but users of the K1000 Management Appliance have additional controls including the ability to customise, remotely deploy, monitor and manage deployed Secure Browsers organisation-wide.

Connected Learning is just one example of the value of this tool. Accessing and downloading web content forms a significant part of today’s curriculum and school IT departments need to strike a balance between providing access and protecting networks from security threats, and the Secure Browser helps accomplish both.

The initial release of the Secure Browser features the Firefox web browser with Adobe Reader and Flash plug-ins preinstalled and ready to run as a Windows Installer setup.

A recent article I wrote on security appeared in Computing and looked at other areas that SMBs need to be aware of when fighting cybercrime. According to some of the feedback, it’s still an area some small businesses struggle with.

About the Author: Chris Mullan

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