Microsoft Edge just getting a Super Duper Secure Mode: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

According to their successful surface event in September and the launch of their affordable Surface Laptop SE , Microsoft brings other changes with it. In the latest version of the Edge Browser , Microsoft has introduced a “Super Duper Secure Mode” that offers users increased protection against common security gaps. Edge’s head of vulnerability research, Johnathan Norman, first mentioned the feature in a blog post in August. On November 22nd, Norman announced that the feature had been “secretly” introduced in the latest version, 96.0.1054.29.

It works by disabling the just-in-time component in V8 that has been linked to a multitude of security flaws in the past few years, Super Duper Secure Mode – also known as SDSM – helps ward off browser attacks. The Chromium project developed V8 as the open source JavaScript engine for Google Chrome and the Chromium web browser (the code base for newer versions of Edge). This problem is caused in part by a technology called Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation, which was introduced in 2008 and was used to speed up certain JavaScript tasks. JIT-enabled engines effectively combine loosely typed JavaScript with machine code just before it is needed. This is also known as speculative optimization. The JavaScript code is optimized through a number of complex processing pipelines, which leads to significant performance gains. According to Norman, JavaScript engines are “a remarkably difficult security challenge for browsers”. This technology enables engines to convert JavaScript into machine code right before execution, which leads to considerable gains in speed and usability, but also to losses in security. Though Norman claims developers are willing to accept this cost because users want their browsers to be “fast”. JIT engines are often vulnerable to security breaches.

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The level of additional protection the user receives is determined by one of two configurations: Balanced or strict. The main difference is that Balanced Mode learns which websites the user visits frequently and relaxes the restrictions on those domains, while Strict mode applies restrictions to all websites, which can result in some elements on websites that have a large Use amount of data, JavaScripts no longer work properly. Users can also manually create exceptions for websites that should be excluded from the additional security measures. The Super Duper Secure Mode can be activated in Edge Settings menu at the bottom of the Privacy tab.

Image credit: Microsoft

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