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Browser Virtualization

Basic – Cloud Computing

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Browser virtualization is the logical or physical isolation of a web browser from the computer’s Operating System (OS). A web browser can be virtualized as a virtual appliance or as a stand-alone application within a virtual machine (VM). The virtual appliance will be with just enough operating system to run while a standalone application contains just a copy of the whole operating system.

Virtual browsers can be saved locally while allowing them to be accessed via the internet as a public cloud service or over a proprietary network. A user with a virtual browser can easily address the compatibility issues of the browser. Hence possible to protect the system’s underlying operating system from web-based malware attacks.

Virtualized browsers can be accessed via anonymous or authenticated modes. When assessed using the anonymous mode (private or incognito mode), all the settings, bookmarks, history and cookies will be deleted once the session is over. In authenticated modes, the cookies, history, and personal settings will be saved and carried over between sessions as they are linked to the end user’s account.

Browser virtualization can also be carried out on remote desktop products. This process is done by running separate instances of the operating system in a dedicated virtual machine known as a VDI.

Use cases of browser virtualization

Some of the use cases why virtual browsers are necessary are discussed as follows;

  • Mobile device users require multiple browsers to run on their smartphone or tablet.
  • Concerned end-users about web-based malware such as drive-by downloads or poisoned cookies.
  • Web developers who have the need to use the same browser with multiple versions for testing purposes.
  • When certain students or employees need access to web pages that have been blocked by the network administrator.

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