Sandboxing is a security feature that protects against malicious code. Rather than execute potentially unsafe code in a standard environment, it is sent to the sandbox – an isolated environment where no harm can be caused.

How Does a Sandbox Work?

A sandbox is an important cybersecurity tool for protecting host devices, operating systems, and data from being exposed to potential threats. The sandbox is a highly controlled system that is used to analyze untrusted applications, files, or code. The sandbox is isolated from the network and real data, and there are only essential resources that are authorized for use. It is not possible for a sandboxed file to access other parts of the network, resources, or the file system, only those specifically set up for the sandbox.

Sandboxes can have different environments. One of the most common implementations uses virtualization. A virtual machine (VM) is set up specifically to examine suspicious programs and code. Some sandboxes include emulation of operating systems to mimic a standard endpoint. Some malware samples perform checks of their environment before executing malicious routines to make sure they are not in a VM. If a VM is detected, the malware will not execute malicious routes and may self-delete to prevent analysis. By emulating a standard endpoint, these checks can be passed to allow analysis. Some sandboxes have full system emulation, which includes the host machine’s physical hardware as well as its operating system and software. These sandboxes provide deeper visibility into the behavior and impact of a program.

In email security, files, attachments, URLs, and programs are sent to the sandbox to check whether they are benign or malicious. The analyses can take between a few seconds to a few minutes, and if any malicious activity is detected, the file will be either quarantined and made available for further study or it will be deleted. Any other instances of that file will be removed from the email system, and any future encounters will see the file, attachment, URL, or program deleted.

SpamTitan Email Sandboxing

SpamTitan Email Security includes a Bitdefender-powered email sandbox to ensure users are protected against zero-day threats. All emails are subjected to a barrage of checks and tests, including scans using two different antivirus engines. SpamTitan features strong machine learning, static analysis, and behavior detection technologies to ensure that only files that require deep analysis get sent to the sandbox. This is important, as deeper analysis may take several minutes, so verified clean and safe messages will not be unduly delayed.

Files that are sent to the sandbox for deep analysis are executed and monitored for signs of malicious activity, with self-protection mechanisms in place to ensure every evasion attempt by a piece of malware is properly marked. The sandbox has purpose-built, advanced machine learning algorithms, decoys and anti-evasion techniques, anti-exploit, and aggressive behavior analysis. All results are checked across known threats in an extensive array of online repositories. If a malicious file is detected, the sandbox updates the Bitdefender’s cloud threat intelligence service – the Bitdefender Global Protective Network – and the sandbox will never have to analyze that threat again as it will be blocked globally.

If you want to improve protection against zero-day threats, give the TitanHQ team a call to find out more about SpamTitan. SpamTitan is available on a free trial to allow you to test it out in your own environment before making a purchase decision.

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