Commonly asked questions about email sandboxing so you know what to expect from an email security solution with a sandbox, and why this advanced feature is vital for email security.

What is an Email Sandbox?

One of the commonly asked questions about email sandboxing is what is an email sandbox? Like the children’s equivalent, it is a safe space for building, destroying, and experimenting. In cybersecurity terms, it is an isolated environment where harm cannot be caused to anything outside of that environment. An email sandbox is an isolated virtual machine that is used for performing risky actions, such as opening unknown attachments and analyzing files and URLs in depth, rather than using a real machine where there is a risk of harm being caused such as file encryption by ransomware, theft of sensitive information, or wiping of data.

Why is an Email Sandbox Important?

Email is the most common vector used in cyberattacks. Through emails, cyber threat actors can gain initial access to a protected network from where they can steal sensitive data or move laterally for a more comprehensive attack. One of the most common ways of gaining remote access is through malware. Once malware is downloaded, an attacker can remotely perform commands and gain full control of an infected device. While businesses use antivirus software to detect and remove malware, these solutions are signature-based. In order to detect malware, the signature of the malware must be in the definition list used by the anti-virus solution, which means the malware must have previously been encountered. Novel malware variants that have not yet been determined to be malicious will not be identified as such and will therefore be delivered to inboxes where they can be executed by employees. An email sandbox is used to safely detonate suspicious files and inspect their behaviors. The behavioral analysis allows previously unknown malware samples can be identified and blocked. This is important due to the volume of new malware samples that are now being released.

How Does an Email Sandbox Protect Against Malware?

Email security solutions with sandboxing perform the same front-end checks as traditional email security solutions and will identify and block many malicious messages. If the initial checks are passed, and the messages are determined to potentially pose a risk, they will be sent to the sandbox for behavioral analysis. Once inside the safety of the sandbox, the attachments will be opened and subjected to various tests. The sandbox is configured to appear to be a normal endpoint, so any malware will be tricked into running malicious commands as it would if it had reached its intended target. The actions of the file are assessed, and if they are determined to be malicious they will be sent to a quarantine folder. By performing these checks, new malware variants can be identified and blocked before any harm is caused.

Will Sandboxing Delay Message Delivery?

Performing standard checks of messages is a quick process, often causing imperceptible delays in mail delivery. Performing in-depth analysis takes longer, so there will be a delay in message delivery. Many emails will not need to be sent to the sandbox and will be delivered immediately, but if sandboxing is required, there will be a delay while the behaviors of the email and attachments are analyzed. Some malware has built-in anti-analysis capabilities and will delay any malicious processes to combat sandboxing. Time is therefore required to ensure full analysis. With SpamTitan, the delay will be no longer than 20 minutes.

How Can I Avoid Message Delivery Delays?

SpamTitan incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities which minimize the number of emails that are sent to the sandbox, and SpamTitan will check every 15 seconds to ensure that emails are delivered as soon as the sandbox analysis is complete. SpamTitan’s sandbox is part of Bitdefender’s Global Protective Network, which ensures rapid checks of suspicious messages. To avoid delays, certain email addresses and domains can be added to a whitelist, which means they will not be sent to the sandbox for analysis, ensuring rapid delivery.

What are the Benefits of Email Sandboxing?

The sandbox provides an important extra layer of protection against malware threats and malicious links. It will detect advanced attacks early and prevent breaches, reduce incident response costs and efforts, reduce the threat-hunting burden, and increase the detection rate of elusive threats in the pre-execution stage, including APTs, targeted attacks, evasion techniques, obfuscated malware, custom malware, ransomware.

How Does the SpamTitan Sandbox Work?

SpamTitan will subject all inbound emails to a battery of front-end tests, and if these are passed but the email is still suspicious, the message and attachment will be sent to the sandbox and the user will be informed that the message is in the sandbox for review. The email and attachments will then be opened in an isolated cloud platform or a secure customer virtual environment. If malware is detected, the email is blocked and assigned ATP.Sandbox and will be listed under “Viruses” in the relevant quarantine report and the intelligence gathered will be used to protect all users from that threat in the future. After twenty minutes of interrogation, if no malicious actions are identified, the file is marked clean and the email is passed onto the recipient.

How Can I Find Out More About Email Security and Sandboxing?

If you have unacceptable numbers of spam and malicious messages being delivered to inboxes, are receiving large numbers of queries about suspicious emails from your employees, or if you have experienced a malware infection via email recently, you should speak with TitanHQ about improving email security with SpamTitan.

SpamTitan has artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, a next-gen email sandbox, and a 99.99% detection rate with a very low false positive rate. Further, SpamTitan is very competitively priced, easy to use, and requires little maintenance. The solution is also available on a 100% free trial, with full product support provided for the duration of the trial.

Additional Articles Related to Email Sandboxing

Email Sandboxing

Email Sandboxing Service

Sandboxing Blocking Malware Threats

Email Sandboxing Pattern Filtering

How does an email sandbox block malware?

Email Sandboxing and Message Delivery Delays

Commonly Asked Questions about Email Sandboxing

What is sandbox security?

How does a sandbox work?

How to sandbox email attachments

What is message sandboxing?

What is malware sandboxing for email?

What is sandboxing in cybersecurity?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of email sandboxing?

Sandboxing Technology for Email

What is a malicious file sandbox for email?