security solutions with email sandboxing block more malware threats than traditional spam filters, even novel malware variants that have yet to be identified as malicious. Without this important feature, emails with malicious attachments will likely be delivered to inboxes where they can be opened by employees. All it takes is for one employee to open a malicious file for malware to be installed that gives a threat actor the foothold they need for a comprehensive attack on the network.

What is an Email Sandbox?

In cybersecurity terms, a sandbox is an isolated, virtual machine where potentially unsafe code can be executed in safety, files can be subjected to deep analysis, and URLs can be visited without risk. In the sandbox, the behavior of files, code, and URLs is inspected, and since the sandbox is not networked and there is no access to real data or applications, there is no risk of causing any damage. Email sandboxing is used to identify malicious code and URLs in emails. The email sandbox mirrors standard endpoints to trick malicious actors into thinking that they have reached their intended target. Emails may pass front-end tests that look at the reputation of the sender, email headers, the content of the messages, and subject attachments to signature-based anti-virus tests, but there is no guarantee that the emails are safe without sandbox-based behavioral analysis.

Why is Email Sandboxing Important?

Cyber threat actors have been developing techniques for bypassing standard email security solutions such as embedding malicious URLs in PDF attachments, hiding malicious content in compressed files, using multiple redirects on hyperlinks, and including links to legitimate cloud-based platforms such as SharePoint for distributing malware. Traditional email security solutions can filter out spam and phishing emails, but they often fail to block more sophisticated threats, especially zero-day malware threats. Email sandboxing provides an extra layer of protection against sophisticated threats such as spear-phishing emails, advanced persistent threats (APTs), and novel malware variants.

A few years ago, new malware variants were released at a fairly slow pace; however, threat actors are now using automation and artificial intelligence to generate new malware variants at an alarming rate. Malware samples are used that deviate sufficiently from a known threat to be able to bypass signature-based detection mechanisms, ensuring they reach their intended targets. Rather than just using one version of malware in their email campaigns, dozens of versions are created on a daily basis. While security awareness training will help employees identify and avoid suspicious emails, threat actors have become adept at social engineering and often hoodwink employees.

The SpamTitan Email Sandbox

The SpamTitan email sandbox is a powerful next-generation security feature with award-winning machine-learning and behavioral analysis technologies. Powered by Bitdefender, the SpamTitan sandbox for email allows files to be safely detonated where they can do no harm. Email attachments that pass the barrage of checks performed by SpamTitan are sent to the sandbox for deep analysis. The sandbox is a virtual environment that is configured to appear to be a typical endpoint and incorporates purpose-built, advanced machine learning algorithms, decoys and anti-evasion techniques, anti-exploit, and aggressive behavior analysis. Files are also subjected to checks across an extensive array of online repositories, with the sandbox checks taking just a few minutes. That ensures that genuine emails are not unduly delayed. If malicious properties are detected in the sandbox, the threat intelligence is passed to Bitdefender’s Global Protective Network (cloud threat intelligence service). If the threat is encountered again, it will be detected and blocked without having to be analyzed again in the sandbox.

The SpamTitan sandbox is used for a wide range of attachments, including office documents to check for malicious URLs, macros, and scripts, and all executable and application files. The sandbox allows SpamTitan to detect polymorphic malware and other threats that have been designed for use in undetectable targeted attacks. If a malicious file is detected, the email is not sent to a spam folder where it could be opened by an end user, it is quarantined in a directory on the local email server which only an administrator can access. Administrators may wish to conduct further investigations to gain insights into how their organization is being targeted.

Threat actors are conducting increasingly sophisticated attacks, so email security solutions need to be deployed that are capable of detecting these advanced threats. With zero-day threats on the rise, now is the ideal time to improve your email defenses with SpamTitan. Why not sign up for a free trial of SpamTitan today to put the solution to the test to see the difference the advanced threat detection capabilities make to your security posture? Product demonstrations can also be requested by contacting TitanHQ, and our friendly sales team will be more than happy to discuss SpamTitan with you and the best deployment options to meet the needs of your business.

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