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Google Builds Giant 'Sandbox' With GreenBorder Acquisition

Vendor takes a unique approach to stopping malware from reaching client machines.


It's hard to say for sure at this point what Google's intentions are in purchasing GreenBorder. This, combined with their recent malware blog going public, certainly seems to indicate Google considers security a priority. The good news is that instead of buying yet another signature based antivirus product, Google is taking a more proactive route by acquiring GreenBorder. The vendor's approach is "proactive" because it's built upon the much more strict default-deny policy, sandboxing all Web activity as opposed to the default-allow that traditional antivirus represents, trying to just catch bad things. Marcus Ranum calls that type of approach "enumerating badness," and rightly points out that it's much more difficult to try to detect all possible bad things than simply starting with a few very specific allowed activities and building from there. GreenBorder has a firm foundation in the type of security that the industry needs more of; it's just a question of what Google will be doing with it.
Jordan Wiens
NWC Contributing Editor

Google may be interested in GreenBorder for application integration as well as security. Although it was aimed at a different market, the GreenBorder technology is essentially application virtualization, using many of the same tricks as the client side of application delivery products such as Altiris SVS, Citrix Streaming Server and Microsoft SoftGrid. In Google's case, the applications would probably be delivered over the Internet rather than within an enterprise, but the concept is the same. Rich Internet apps running inside GreenBorder would be even richer than those that rely on Ajax, taking full advantage of the Windows OS yet remaining isolated from it.
Andy Dornan
NWC Senior Technology Editor

Google quietly acquired enterprise security vendor GreenBorder Technologies this week in a move that ramps up the search giant's focus on security issues.

The deal is in line with Google's strategy of picking up small vendors with unique technologies (including JotSpot, Writely and Dodgeball), seemingly as much to have something to play with in Google Labs as rushing new capabilities to market.

GreenBorder is interesting because it takes a different approach to protecting computers from viruses, spyware and Trojan threats. Rather than relying on virus signatures--which require constant updating--GreenBorder creates a virtual Internet session that keeps users within a secure "sandbox." All remnants of the session, including any malware picked up along the way, are flushed away when the session ends. GreenBorder has apps that work with both Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.

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