BitBox Could Be Safest Windows Browser Ever

Dennis Faas's picture

German security technologies company Sirrix AG has recently released what some critics are calling the most secure web browser in existence: a sandboxed version of Mozilla firefox, known as BitBox.

What makes this variation of Firefox most intriguing is that the web browser runs completely independent of Microsoft Windows. The program uses VirtualBox 4.04 (a software virtualization program by Sun Microsystems) and a securely locked-down ("hardened") implementation of Debian 6 Linux.

The web browser (Firefox 4) then runs in a virtual machine with its own operating system (Debian 6 Linux), keeping it completely separate from the rest of the users' own operating system (Windows).

BitBox Improves Sandboxing Format

BitBox (short for "browser in a box") differs from the traditional sandboxing format of standard browsers because it runs a separate 'guest' operating system, meaning that all browser activity is isolated and kept secluded from the base operating system.

If a user visited an infected web site serving up malware, for example, Microsoft Windows would not be affected. This is an extremely powerful security feature, especially if a PC is shared amongst multiple users, such as family members. (Source:

When BitBox is launched, the user is said to have all of the same Internet experiences as they would when running Firefox 4 in its standard format.

A shared folder between both operating systems is accessible through a separate user account. To keep things extra secure, uploads and Internet access are disabled on the base operating system once BitBox is launched. (Source:

Boot Image Reset Ensures Added Security

Its greatest feature, however, rests in the fact that every time the browser is restarted, BitBox resets to a different certified boot image.

This means that any existing malware that might have come through in the previous session is isolated and eliminated -- all without having to continually run an antivirus scan of the system to weed out each individual piece of malware. (Source:

BitBox Download

As it stands, BitBox runs on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, in addition to various Linux distributions, including Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE and Gentoo.

BitBox can be downloaded free of charge from Sirrix's website, though the download page is in German. Note that the Bitbox download file is a whopping 900 megabytes, so be prepared for a long wait. A DVD version of the software is also available.

At the time of writing we were unable to locate an English download page with instructions.

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