Sandbox your browser on a linux system

While I was reading about browser sandboxing coming up in Vista and musing about how easy or difficult it would be to sandbox OTHER 3rd party applications, I found a comment on a ZDNet post that I think I’ll just copy directly (of course, giving credit to the poster…) Of course, with the user seperation under linux, individual users have NO access to other users folders by default. ONLY the administrator can access individual user folders. So, you obviously don’t want to run a web browser as the administrator (root), but you could setup another user account to run your web browser under if you’re particularly concerned about isolating it from NOT just the system files, but YOUR files as well.

There are other ways to do this as well, some as complicated as running vmplayers browser appliance, or doing your own chrooted install of a browser, etc. etc. etc. However, the solution provided for sandboxing was really a very simple and straightforward approach.

I’m sorry it isn’t a default setting but this issue is no edge for over the horizon (… Vista?). The things necessary won’t be done by mom and pop but I’m sure that George can do it and any sufficently motivated Linux distribution could set it up as default today.

Step 1: Set up a new user account. For purposes of illustration, call it ‘sandbox.’

Step 2: Tell the browser to always run out of ‘sandbox.’ I’ll describe how to do that using SuSE with KDE. First, right click on the icon for your browser. Second, click on the application tab. Third, click on the advanced button. Fourth, click the ‘run as different user’ button. Fill in the user name ‘sandbox.’

Step 3: Close the command line interface. I never told you to use that in the first place. ;-)
Posted by: palmwarrior Posted on: 03/23/06

Thanks to palmwarrior. I’ve got to say, I make use of konquerors “run command”, “run as a different user” ALL the time on another linux desktop I visit frequently. my main goal is running the web browser as MY user instead of the logged in user, so that any remembered passwords, etc are kept under MY profile instead of whoever is logged in at the time. But it could just as easily be used to sandbox ANY application. Of course, what’s described above is a bit different than the “run command” box, but a setting that can be made for any desktop link.


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