Exploiting Split Browsers for Efficiently Protecting User Data

Zavou, Angeliki; Portokalidis, Georgios; Keromytis, Angelos D.; Athanasopoulos, Elias

Offloading complex tasks to a resource-abundant environment like the cloud, can extend the capabilities of resource constrained mobile devices, extend battery life, and improve user experience. Split browsing is a new paradigm that adopts this strategy to improve web browsing on devices like smartphones and tablets. Split browsers offload computation to the cloud by design; they are composed by two parts, one running on the thin client and one in the cloud. Rendering takes place primarily in the latter, while a bitmap or a simplified web page is communicated to the client. Despite its difference with traditional web browsing, split browsing still suffers from the same types of threats, such as cross-site scripting. In this paper, we propose exploiting the design of split browsers to also utilize cloud resources for protecting against various threats efficiently. We begin by systematically studying split browsing architectures, and then proceed to propose two solutions, in parallel and inline cloning, that exploit the inherent features of this new browsing paradigm to accurately and efficiently protect user data against common web exploits. Our preliminary results suggest that our framework can be efficiently applied to Amazon’s Silk, the most widely deployed at the time of writing, split browser.


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Academic Units
Computer Science
Published Here
December 12, 2012


Proceedings of the 4th Cloud Computing Security Workshop, Raleigh, NC, October 19, 2012.