By Neil J. Rubenking  |  Posted 2006-07-05 Print this article Print

Editors note: When GreenBorder Pro becomes available on Monday, June 26, the first 10,000 people to download it will receive a free one-year subscription.

GreenBorder Pro wont scour your computer and remove evil programs—thats not its job. But when its actively patrolling Microsoft Internet Explorers borders, any malware that tries to install itself or glom onto your personal information will fail. Period. The software insulates IE from the rest of your system by using virtual-machine techniques. What happens in GreenBorder stays in GreenBorder!

This isnt new technology; large companies have used GreenBorder Enterprise for years. This version brings the same level of protection to consumers and small businesses, but leaves out the centralized administration and other enterprise-level features. Where products such as Faronics Anti-Executable and ProcessGuard block all executables that havent been approved, GreenBorder lets them do whatever they want—but not permanently.

The utilitys protection is specific to IE, though the company plans support for other browsers. When you launch IE, a green border around the window lets you know browsing is protected. Any program launched by IE or another protected program is likewise protected. Downloaded software, ActiveX controls, and other executable items may install within the protected browser—or may fail because of GreenBorders restrictions. Whether they install completely, partially, or not at all, the underlying system is unchanged. The GreenBorder environment captures all changes, and a "Clean and Reset GreenBorder" option wipes the slate clean. Downloaded program files are sequestered in a special My GreenBorder Files folder under My Documents; launching any file from this folder invokes protection even if the browser isnt running.

GreenBorder also blocks protected programs from accessing your personal files. It specifically protects files in or below My Documents and Desktop. Web sites attempting to troll for personal data will fail, as will spyware programs that try to grab personal files. If you actively transmit a protected file, perhaps as a webmail attachment, the utility asks for confirmation. Thats about the only confirmation pop-up youll see; GreenBorder is very quiet compared with most security programs.

The optional SafeFiles feature lets you download files to any location and still retain GreenBorders protection. You can also use a SafeFiles right-click menu to add or remove GreenBorder protection for any file. I cant see paying an extra $14.95 per year for SafeFiles, though. Even without it you can protect files by putting them into the My GreenBorder Files folder and remove protection by taking them out. And launching any file in IE confers GreenBorder protection. For example, with a Microsoft Word file called Sample.doc thats stored in the folder Test on the D: drive, youd simply type d:\test\sample.doc into the IE address bar and hit Enter.

For even more extreme security—when shopping or banking, say—you can invoke the Privacy Zone, which causes GreenBorder to close and clean up all programs running under its protection. It then opens a single browser window with a yellow border, signifying youre in the Privacy Zone. When you finish your online actions and close the zone, GreenBorder wipes out all traces of the transaction.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: GreenBorder Pro 2.9

Neil J. Rubenking Neil Rubenking served as vice president and president of the San Francisco PC User Group for three years when the IBM PC was brand new. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals, and served on its board of directors. In 1986, PC Magazine brought Neil on board to handle the torrent of Turbo Pascal tips submitted by readers. By 1990 he had become PC Magazine's technical editor, and a coast-to-coast telecommuter. His 'User to User' column supplied readers with tips and solutions on using DOS and Windows, his technical columns clarified fine points in programming and operating systems, and his utility articles (over forty of them) provided both useful programs and examples of programming in Pascal, Visual Basic, and Delphi. Mr. Rubenking has also written seven books on DOS, Windows, and Pascal/Delphi programming, including PC Magazine DOS Batch File Lab Notes and the popular Delphi Programming for Dummies. In his current position as a PC Magazine Lead Analyst he evaluates and reports on client-side operating systems and security solutions such as firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and full security suites. He continues to answer questions for readers in the ongoing 'Solutions' column and in PC Magazine's discussion forums.

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