News Column

Patent Issued for Sandboxed Execution of Plug-Ins

June 19, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Shah, Nirav Yogesh (Bothell, WA); Hafezipour, Allen F. (Bothell, WA); Jamieson, Steve (Bellevue, WA); Ranjan, Shashi (Redmond, WA), filed on December 2, 2008, was published online on June 3, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8745361 is Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "With the existing number of applications currently deployed, software vendors seek ways in which to provide value to customers other than through new product purchases. This can be served by providing a feature that allows custom code to run as part of a normal application operation. The custom code is added in the form of 'plug-ins' or auxiliary applications which can be configured to run at specific points in the application operation. In an online environment, it becomes challenging as the code runs on a hosted server, and hence, errors in coding or malicious code can cause damage to the corporate computer systems or corporate networks."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some novel embodiments described herein. This summary is not an extensive overview, and it is not intended to identify key/critical elements or to delineate the scope thereof. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

"The disclosed architecture is a unique combination of features that isolate the software plug-in code so that the code can be safely run inside a corporate hosted environment and yet perform useful functions for the environment. The architecture includes a sandbox system designed to identify and protect itself from misbehaving plug-ins, either intentional or non-intentional, to recover from errors, and to automatically disable and block registration of bad plug-ins via a penalty point system. The sandbox system also provides isolation from other plug-ins running on the same isolated system, and restricts access to sensitive information and resources such as machine name, IP address, file system, etc.

"Isolation can be provided in multiple levels, such as machine isolation, process isolation, secure accounts with limited access rights, and application domain isolation within processes using local security mechanisms. A combination of the multiple levels of isolation achieves a high level of security.

"Moreover, the architecture is a highly scalable, stateless, and low administration architecture for the execution of the plug-ins, which can be scaled simply by adding (or removing) additional sandbox servers on-the-fly without prior configuration.

"To the accomplishment of the foregoing and related ends, certain illustrative aspects are described herein in connection with the following description and the annexed drawings. These aspects are indicative of the various ways in which the principles disclosed herein can be practiced and all aspects and equivalents thereof are intended to be within the scope of the claimed subject matter. Other advantages and novel features will become apparent from the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the drawings."

For additional information on this patent, see: Shah, Nirav Yogesh; Hafezipour, Allen F.; Jamieson, Steve; Ranjan, Shashi. Sandboxed Execution of Plug-Ins. U.S. Patent Number 8745361, filed December 2, 2008, and published online on June 3, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Software, Microsoft Corporation.

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Source: Computer Weekly News

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