Chrome sandbox cuts Flash crashes by 20 percent

Chrome sandbox cuts Flash crashes by 20 percent

Summary: By sandboxing Flash, Google says that Chrome crashes have dropped significantly. But Windows XP users now have a new incentive to stay on the ageing, security-lacking operating system.


Google has improved Flash sandboxing in the latest version of its Chrome browser for Windows, boosting its security and reducing crashes by as much as 20 percent.

A familiar sight for many.

Google ported Flash off the aging NPAPI architecture -- which it describes as "a thin layer of glue between the web browser and a native application" -- and onto its own sandboxed platform, PPAPI.

"By eliminating the complexity and legacy code associated with NPAPI we've reduced Flash crashes by about 20 percent," Justin Schuh, a Google software engineer, wrote on the Chromium blog.

By sandboxing Flash, a plug-in can crash without taking down the rest of the browser. Sandboxing was introduced in early versions of Chrome to prevent rogue tabs from causing such total browser crashes, and as an anti-malware measure.

The change also means Windows 8 users will be able to use all of a Web site's Flash features in 'Windows 8 mode', formerly known as Metro.

For Windows XP, the decade-old platform with fewer in-built security features as later versions of Windows, sandboxing acts as an important gateway between the browser and the operating system. Schuh said there are around 100 million Chrome users on Windows XP.

But Because Windows XP is still used by much of the enterprise through lack of backwards compatibility and a reluctance to upgrade, Chrome's making a solid pitch to the enterprise.

Chrome was, earlier this year, the world's top browser for a day, according to StatCounter figures. On March 18, the browser reached a 32.7 percent global market share, but by Monday it had declined by 5 percent, mostly due to a return to work and the majority of primary browser's in the workplace remains Internet Explorer.

Combine that with Windows XP remaining in a close 50/50 tie with Windows 7, it remains an ever-popular operating system in the enterprise, despite its small decline in market share month-on-month, according to Net Applications.

Considering 99.9 percent of Chrome users rely on Flash, most of whom are likely to be on Windows, that's a lot of users a bit less frustrated.

To get the improved sandboxing, Windows users should update to Chrome 22 if they haven't already, while Linux users will have had access to the new sandbox since Chrome 20. Apple users will see an OS X version shipped "soon", Schuh said, but did not give a timescale.

Topics: Google, Browser, Enterprise Software, Windows

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  • XP does not lack security

    In fact XP has rather good security. It's missing a few improvements found in Vista and Windows 7 but it's definitely not lacking security.
    • It's also not Enterprise alone that runs it

      A large part of the XP user base are run-of-the-mill PC and laptop users. It's a myth that enterprise alone are the die hards. As this tanking economy persists, XP finds additional durability. I'm on a machine running XP as I type this.
      • You should really upgrade to a modern OS

        Linux Mint is free.

        linuxmint dot com > Download > Cinnamon
    • XP needs to die

      Any OS were users are encouraged to run as root or worse required too, is a huge liability in this modern age.
      • You would kill a puppy?!

        P.S. Puppy Linux has been amongst the top 1t at distrowatch for quite some time.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Well, if that is the case...

        ...perhaps you can explain to me why Windows 7 gets almost all the same patches every patch Tuesday as XP does. What is your answer to that? Hope you are enjoying your spiffy (not) UI.
        • Security is never perfect.

          "Well, if that is the case...

          ...perhaps you can explain to me why Windows 7 gets almost all the same patches every patch Tuesday as XP does"

          Because security is never perfect. I know of no OS that doesn't need regular updates because of security holes.
          • Re: Security is never perfect

            @CobraA1 I think you missed my whole point! Windows 7 was pitched as "a whole new operating system" and it is getting the SAME patches XP does almost every month. Windows 7 is mostly a new UI and a crappy one at that, IMHO. "Security enhancements" like dimming the screen and bringing up a dialog box asking if I want to do something are asinine.

            I have been using Windows, pretty much every version, for the last 20+ years, and have yet to have an "unauthenticated attacker" take over my machine, or what ever that catch line is. Maybe people ought watch what web sites they are visiting.
      • RE: XP needs to die

        You are full of it.
        First off, Windows technically cannot be "rooted". I think you are referring to the administrator account that you would not be able to do anything useful without.

        I am guessing you are an iOS stickler who likes your software so sandboxed that you can't do anything useful.
    • It IS missing this particular security feature, though.

      It IS missing this particular security feature, though. There's more sandbox-like features in Vista/7/8 than in XP.
  • Yeah whos fixing that other 80%? Because it doesnt look like either

    adobe or google are in any hurry to.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Google has no incentive to,

      and Adobe couldn't program their way out of a wet paper sack.
      • Flash is evil that had to die many years ago

        It just continues crashing computers no matter what Adobe, Google or Firefox trying to do with it.

        It is really unrepairable.
  • Chrome sandbox cuts Flash crashes by 20 percent

    Kudos to the Chrome/Chromium Team.
  • Looks like...

    Version 22 is only available now on the Dev channel. Beta and Stable channels are on version 21.x.yyyy.zz
  • Version Confusion

    I assume you're referring to the recent switch to making PPAPI (Pepper) Flash the default, which actually happened in the current stable windows version- Chrome 21, not version 22 as you mention above. The PPAPI Flash has existed in Chrome for several versions but hasn't been enabled by default until now. Typing about:plugins in the address bar will let you enable/disable whatever flash versions you want in Chrome.
    av tech
  • Nice

    Go ActionScript!
  • This is a laugh

    Googlre says it's sandbox cuts flash crashes by 20%.
    First - why not by 100%. Isn't that what sandbox is [partially] for?
    Second - Taking Google's word on this "research" is like Apple saying their laptops and desktops will never get malware again. Ya right.
    Chrome continues to crank out vulnerabilities [last updated corrected over a dozen of them] and recently a vulnerability was discovered with sandbox itself.
    • Sandbox

      As I understand the author, crashes with flash is decreased with 20%. When flash crashes, the sandbox prevents the browser to go down with flash and therefore also prevents computer crash
  • XP is Fine (Better than Windows 8 :-)

    The only reason. XP is less secure is because Microsoft is deliberately downsizing updates so they can force people to pay for newer OS software.

    Newer versions of Windows probably have more vulnerabilities because they have more software on them which creates a larger attack surface.