Microsoft's Edge Browser Will Stay Secure By Acting as a Virtual PC

By Tom Pritchard on at

Microsoft has just announced Windows Defender Application Guard, a new system that isolates Edge Browser from the rest of the computer and making it harder to hack. But only if you're a Windows Enterprise user.

In a blog post, Microsoft claims that this is the first time an operating system has shipped this type of technology with a browser. It works by using the virtualisation based security recently introduced in Windows 10, keeping Edge away from storage, apps, and the Windows 10 kernel.

Microsoft claims that other browsers are "sandboxed" away from other areas of the PC, there's still chance that malware and other exploits can access the rest of your system. Application Guard, on the other hand, uses a hardware container to make sure Edge is completely isolated from the rest of your PC. Even if some malware manages to be installed by a sketchy site, it can't breach the container to steal data or compromise your network.

Obviously running Edge inside a virtual machine is going to affect speed, though Microsoft has promised that it's being kept light and uses minimal resources. Plus, because it's totally isolated, closing the browser will wipe all of your data. So any cookies, browsing history, and other data will be lost. That has its own mix of drawbacks and benefits, but it's not that different from using a private browsing mode.

At the moment this tool is only available to Enterprise users, which means it might be a while before regular people get to take advantage of this system for themselves. But, in an age where hacking is more dangerous than ever, you can never be too safe. [Microsoft via Engadget]