Categories: News

Microsoft Researchers Tease “Super Duper Secure Mode” For Edge

Ever since the release of the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge internet browser in early 2020, it has, slowly but surely, been tempting a significant number of users away who were once very firmly entrenched in the Google Chrome camp. Many of us here at eTeknix made the swap shortly after its release and given the fact that none of us have felt compelled to change back since, this is perhaps the biggest indicator you need that, at least when compared to the original Edge, the new version is massively better.

When it comes to any sort of online activity, however, there will always be some users who place a higher premium on security over performance, and following a report via The Verge, Microsoft researchers have teased that a new Edge update might bring with it a “super duper secure mode”.

Microsoft Edge “Super Duper Secure Mode”

The methodology behind this new ‘super secure mode’ is rather complex, but we can break it down into some relatively simple key points. At the time of writing, Edge, like many browsers, utilises a feature within the Javascript known as Just-In-Time compilation (or JIT). This is a key factor in what makes web pages load exceptionally fast within the browser, but it does come with something of a moderate trade-off. Put simply, the coding within it is exceptionally complex, and as any coder will know, the more complicated something is, the greater the chance that a bug, error, or potential glitch might exist within it. – So, although being useful, it is believed that around 50% of all confirmed exploits within browsers since 2018 were directly linked to the utilisation of ‘JIT’.

Therefore, this new “super duper secure mode” would look to place the browser in an operating state in which this ‘feature’ would not be used. The good side is that this would mean that accessing websites would hugely limit the potential for any security exploits within the code to be executed. The downside is that it could see many more complex ones, such as Facebook, load/run more slowly.

What Do We Think?

As we understand it, for those who are members of the Windows Insider program, an early release test build of this new updated Edge browser can be downloaded. As such, you can apparently try this new super-secure mode out. Microsoft has, however, suggested that, at least at the time of writing, this new ‘super secure’ mode is only in a concept state and, as such, it may not ever see an official release. As noted above, the main issue seems to lie in it causing websites to load exceptionally slowly.

On the plus side, however, the security research team has indicated that it may be subject to improvements that would see it only enabled (automatically) on known problematic websites. Better still, users may also have the option (presumably by a convenient button somewhere on the dash) to turn this immediately on or off so you can bespoke its usage depending on your activity.

Whether they’ll be able to improve this enough to make a genuinely viable, and potentially very useful, update to Edge, however, for the moment seems unclear.

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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