Hewlett-Packard, Mozilla and Symantec present a virtual browser called the HP Firefox Virtual Browser, which will be first featured on a new HP desktop called the HP Compaq dc7900. The HP Firefox Virtual Browser creates a secure virtualization layer that captures malware and viruses and lets the user purge the malware from the desktop. HP will offer the HP Firefox Virtual Browser in all its business desktops by year's end.
is teaming up with Mozilla and Symantec to create a more secure Web browser
that will add an extra layer of security and virtualization capabilities to the
At a show here Sept. 8 to demonstrate the upcoming HP Compaq dc7900 business
desktop, HP also detailed what it calls the HP Firefox Virtual Browser. This
Internet browser, which will be available on the Compaq dc7900 later in
September, was co-developed with Mozilla
HP Firefox Virtual Browser
is essentially a virtualized application that
sits within the individual desktop and is controlled by the user. Kirk Godkin,
an HP senior product manager for business PCs, said because the browser resides
on the individual client an IT
department does not have to set up a virtual desktop infrastructure
the data center to take advantage of the virtual browser.
What HP and its partners have done is create a virtual layer that sits
separate from the desktop's operating system but that still communicates with
the operating system. The browser itself works within a virtualized run-time
environment, which allows all the cookies and downloads to be sequestered in
what Godkin calls the "sandbox."
If the sandbox detects malware or viruses, the user can simply empty the
content of the virtual environment and start again.
"What we have created is a virtual layer where your browser runs and
all the downloads, all the clicks, all the cookies and everything is placed
within ... a virtualized run-time environment," Godkin told eWEEK.
"With the browser, the user only has to click the mouse and it will reset
the browser to its original state and all their favorites will remain the
While PCs have become highly commoditized, PC vendors continue to look for
ways to distinguish their hardware from the competition. In this case, HP,
which is still the word's No. 1 supplier of PCs,
decided to refresh the
traditional desktop with an eye on two of the biggest issues in IT today:
virtualization and security.
After the virtual browser appears with the Compaq dc7900 client, Godkin
said, HP will include the browser on all its corporate desktops by the end of
November. After the initial rollout, HP may then add the virtual browser to its
line of enterprise notebooks, but no firm plans are in place.
Godkin also declined to comment on whether HP is working with Microsoft on a
similar option with Internet Explorer.
In addition to the virtual Web browser, HP is adding several other security
features to the Compaq dc7900 under its ProtectTools suite. These include an
optional privacy manager that allows a user to send e-mail with a digital
signature and a file sanitizer that allows a user to scrub the PC clean
before disposing of it.
The HP Compaq dc7900 will be available later in
September for a starting price of $599.