IT heavies go virtual to fix software security

More IT companies are taking their own steps to reduce hacker attacks on their systems.

Software giant Adobe, for instance, has announced that it will introduce a ‘Protected Mode’ into its popular Reader application, while Dell has made a virtualised version of the Firefox browser available for its customers to download from its website.

Due to its wide popularity, Adobe’s Reader software was estimated to be the most targeted application by hackers in 2009, according to security monitoring by F-Secure.

The protected mode, set to be introduced by 2011, will effectively ‘sandbox’ the program by forcing it to run in a separate, confined environment which prevents it from interacting directly with underlying operating system (OS) processes, other applications or user files and directories.

Other vendors to have adopted similar sandbox security approaches include Google Chrome, and Microsoft Office 2010 with its Protected Viewing Mode. 

The Dell Kace Secure Browser is a virtual instance of Firefox 3.6 that separates the application from other processes and applications running on the system. The PC maker is working on a similar version of Internet Explorer for release later this year.

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