Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Web browsers as operating systems: Supporting robust and secure web programs
by Reis, Charles, Ph.D., University of Washington, 2009, 173; 3370601
Abstract (Summary)

The World Wide Web has changed significantly since its introduction, facing a shift in its workload from passive web pages to active programs. Current web browsers were not designed for this demanding workload, and web content formats were not designed to express programs. As a result, the platform faces numerous robustness and security problems, ranging from interference between programs to script injection attacks to browser exploits.

This dissertation presents a set of contributions that adapt lessons from operating systems to make the web a more suitable platform for deploying and running programs. These efforts are based upon four architectural principles for supporting programs First, we must recognize web programs and precisely identify the boundaries between them, while preserving compatibility with existing content. Second, we must improve browser architectures to effectively isolate web programs from each other at runtime. Third, publishers must have the ability to authorize the code that runs within the programs they deploy. Fourth, users must be able to enforce policies on the programs they run within their browser.

In this work, I incorporate these architectural principles into web browsers and web content, and I use experiments to quantify the improvements to robustness and performance while preserving backward compatibility. Additionally, some of these efforts have been incorporated into the Google Chrome web browser, demonstrating their practicality.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Levy, Henry M.
Commitee:
School: University of Washington
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: DAI-B 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Computer science
Keywords: Javascript, Operating systems, Secure web programs, Web browsers
Publication Number: 3370601
ISBN: 9781109316698
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