A UK company is betting that browser users, particularly those in enterprises, will pay for airtight security when they search the web. The company, EISST (Enterprise Information Security Systems & Technologies), recently released what it calls a "zero-footprint" browser, which, it claims, provides a significantly enhanced security profile compared with Firefox and Internet Explorer.

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The London-based company's e-Capsule Private Browser offers three key security features lacking in the others currently available, according to John Elsh, sales and marketing manager at EISST. It not only stores all of a user's temporary internet data in an encrypted file with block-level AES256 encryption, it also provides anonymous browsing with "onion routing", while also running as a portable "zero-footprint" application that does not integrate with the underlying operating system.

Encrypting what EISST calls the profile file is important because "there's no way your navigation experience can be exposed to third parties or even the operating system," says Elsh. "We encrypt everything you save online cookies, browsing history, even your cache." Users gain access to the profile via a 256-character encrypted passcode, which can contain spaces and special characters. "This makes it easier to remember and tougher to break than standard passwords," Elsh says.

The second layer of security, onion routing, enables browser users to hide their identity to servers on the internet. Based on open-source code, onion routing relies on a series of proxy servers (onion routers) that encrypt and route web-server traffic in an unpredictable path. Web servers see only the IP address of the router that was visited last, not that of the original browser user.

Finally, the e-Capsule Private Browser does not register itself with the Windows registry, says Elsh. It does not use any system resources, libraries or the registry. This screens it from any operating system vulnerabilities, and the OS has no entry point into the browser, he explains.

The e-Capsule Private Browser relies on Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine, making the user experience very similar to using a normal browser.

With Firefox, IE and Opera available for free, the only question is whether users will pay nearly £20 for EISST's product. "Encryption is easy to do,"  Elsh says. "The problem is after encrypting, how do you manage it?"  EISST believes its integrated approach to encrypting data is the answer. 

A trial version of the EISST browser is available for download below.