We seem to have forgot that the Browser often runs on an OS

Overtime we all end up installing things we shouldn’t have installed and spend some amount of time restoring ourselves to some perceived state of safety by removing programs and doing the “Security Process”. Operating systems have not kept up with the real world.  Operating systems are good at managing resources but fail to deal with all the meta data about an object. Instead of managing this meta data the OS leaves it to third party addon applications. Consider the following simple example. I was browsing my process list and I see the following task running in Activity Monitor. Activity Monitor is a Mac application for looking at the processes running on your computer. There are similar apps for Windows and Linux and even more of them for tasks running in your browser which get mapped to tasks in the Operating System.

What is WiFiproxy

I have no idea what that is and it will take an unreasonable amount of time to figure it out.  There are a number of deficiencies in this particular application and what it does. I would classify it as primitive.

Operating System interfaces have still not discovered the web and the importance of linked data and semantic approaches providing drill down. Each application often drills down 1 or 2 levels and then leaves you there with no support on what to do next. At this point you need to become a wizard and start searching on the web. Why searching on the web is always an acceptable solution is yet another area for research on the tremendous cost of applications which just don’t do enough.  What should the above application do?

  1. Tell you when the program was installed.
  2. Where it was installed from?
  3. Recent mentions of the application in Social Media.
  4. How long it has been running, when the apps starts.
  5. What traffic is going into and out of the application.
  6. A potential risk metric of some type.
  7. Where the source code and tests or the vendor for this application are kept.
  8. Whether it was signed or not.
  9. Other applications like this one.
  10. How to remove the application.
  11. If it is up to date and how the update process works.
  12. What security level is needed for the application.

It would take hours to do all of the above and there are 100’s of tasks running on very computer OS that is hosting a browser.  Is this a fundamental issue requiring OS vendors to accept more scope of one that should be solved with yet another collection of third party applications. Perhaps a more secure manageable solution is for the OS and the browser to merge for all consumer class devices so that one can have accurate audit trails instead of the current appeal to the experts.

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