Sandboxes have become an increasingly popular cybersecurity tool. Cybersecurity professionals, as well as business owners, use them to test programs and apps for malware. Rather than executing a program or app openly, they’ll execute it within a sandbox. Unless you’ve used them in the past, though, you might be wondering how sandboxes work and why they’ve become such a popular cybersecurity tool.
What Is a Sandbox?
Not to be confused with an actual sandbox, a sandbox is an isolated virtual environment that’s used for testing purposes. When you run a program or app in a sandbox, it won’t any of the settings or data outside of the sandbox. It’s called a “sandbox” because it traps programs and apps within a virtual environment.
Some of the most popular types of sandboxes include the following:
- Windows Sandbox
How a Sandbox Works
Sandboxes work by providing an isolated virtual environment in which to run programs and apps. You can open a sandbox, after which you can run programs and apps inside of it. The programs or apps won’t affect the rest of your computer. While the sandbox is still located on your computer, it’s virtually isolated or separated.
Depending on the type of sandbox, as well as the settings with which you configure it, it may offer a limited amount of resources. Most sandboxes will provide random access memory (RAM) and central processing unit (CPU) power, but they’ll only offer a limited amount of these and other resources. Some sandboxes also provide network access. They allow you to connect to a private or public network while maintaining an isolated, virtual environment.
Why Sandboxes Are Popular
For cybersecurity applications, sandboxes are popular because they allow professionals and business owners to test new apps and programs. Malware isn’t always easy to detect. Some forms of malware are embedded deep within apps and programs where they go unnoticed by traditional antivirus software. It’s not until you execute one of these infected apps or programs until you realize that it contains malware.
With a sandbox, you can test new apps and programs to ensure that they don’t contain malware. If an app or program is malicious, it won’t harm your computer when executed. The sandbox will separate the malware from the rest of your computer. A sandbox isn’t a replacement for traditional cybersecurity tools, such as antivirus software. Nonetheless, if you regularly use new apps or programs, you may want to test them in a sandbox.