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Microsoft tests experimental Super-Duper Secure Mode for Edge

It may be a silly name, but it removes major flaws in advanced browsers that may set the stage for a more secure future.

The vulnerability research team of Microsoft Edge explored a new feature called Super-Duper Secure Mode (SDSM). SDSM was close to making Chromium-based Edge more secure without negatively striking achievement.

The goal of SDSM was to surge security while browsing the web by disabling just-in-time rivalry for JavaScript, introduced in 2008. The chromium-based browser Edge is built on the open-source V8 JavaScript engine. SDSM works by removing JIT compilation from the V8 processing pipeline, which reduces the attack surface that might be used to hack into Edge systems, explained by Bleeping Computer. Additionally, to disabling the JIT, SDSM introduced new security relief to make Edge a more secure browser.

These include authorizing the new Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) in Edge, which extends the process. And in the prospect of adding support for Web Assembly, Arbitrary Code Guard (ACG), and other advance security mitigations.

In August, Microsoft researchers noted that JavaScript plays the main in any browser story. JITs endure for a reason, and that is to tuning JavaScript performance. However, the researchers concluded that they did not see much effect in performance daily browsing with JIT disabled and most of their tests remained the same.

With the V8 disabling, half of the V8 bugs would be removed. This means fewer security updates and hardly any emergency patches for users.

Microsoft noted that the relief of JIT is not all bad:

“Our tests that measured improvements in power showed a 15% improvement on the average and our generic showed around 11% increase in power depletion. Memory mixed story with negatively impacted tests is showing a 2.3% regression.” 

Early results show the test results while having JIT disabled. The power usage grew by 11% and page load speed decreased by 17%. And memory usage increased by 2.3%. In Speedometer 2.0, the JavaScript benchmark report result was 58% lower, which should not appear as a giant surprise. The news did not sound good on the performance front.

Within few months, Microsoft plans to experiment with its Super-Duper Secure Mode. You will be able to try it out by validating its flag through edge://flags in Edge Canary, Dev, and Beta version.

Writer: Amina Naseer

Reported by: Imaaz nadeem

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