Sandbox technology is something that is getting more and more publicity lately, but still many individuals and particularly your average home user don’t really know much about it. Since the infocarnivore blog focuses on the simpler side of security with the aim of assisting individuals who aren’t computer security experts I thought I’d write a brief post outlining sandbox technology.
What is it?
Today’s Sandbox technology as it relates to computer security is simply put a method of separating running programs from each other. It’s not to be confused with the Sandbox Effect related to search engines, or Sandbox Technique used by software development companies. A security sandbox is essentially a virtual environment where programs can run safely without having an effect on the overall system. This is especially useful when browsing the web or testing an untrusted program from perhaps an unknown or untrusted source.
A popular program that is available in a free version is Sandboxie which creates a sandbox-like isolated operating environment in which applications can be run or installed without permanently modifying the local or mapped drive. The below image from the sandboxie website gives a perfect visual of sandbox technology when used in the context of browsing the web.
Another solution is the VMware Workstation 7.1 – The Gold Standard in Desktop Virtualization (Click Here) which utilizes the same technology but is a little more advanced in features than Sandboxie, and is more of an enterprise or corporate solution as they have sandbox technology features for creating virtual desktops, virtual servers, and other management solutions.
VMWare download: VMware Storefront Homepage VMware
For You, the Home User
The simplest way of defining a sandbox is that new data (which could potentially include malicious threats) is separated from your critical system files and stored in the ‘sandbox’ where it can be dealt with appropriately. If there is a threat it is isolated from making any destructive changes to your system. Perhaps now you can see how this technology can be useful. In the corporate and enterprise environment there are many other applications and uses for sandbox technology, but for You, the home user the most basic of solutions is protecting you from online threats such as malware, spyware, rogue antivirus products, or potentially malicious web links.
Now that you know do you think you’d give Sandbox technology a try? Leave a comment with your experiences or thoughts.