Multiple layers of security are required to protect against increasingly sophisticated email attacks. A malicious file sandbox for email should be one of those layers to ensure your business is protected against zero-day and stealthy malware threats.

Email: The Most Common Initial Access Vector Used by Cybercriminals

There are many ways that cybercriminals can attack businesses, but email is the most common initial access vector. Most employees have email accounts which means they can be easily reached, and social engineering techniques are used to trick employees into opening malicious attachments or visiting links in emails. Cybercriminals have become adept at exploiting human weaknesses in defenses.

One of the main aims of email campaigns is to deliver malware to provide persistent access to victims’ networks. Executable files may be attached to emails and hidden using double file extensions to make the files appear to be legitimate documents, PDF files, or spreadsheets. Office files may be attached that have malicious macros which, if allowed to run, trigger the download of a first-stage malware payload. The problem for businesses is these campaigns are becoming much more sophisticated, they often bypass standard email security defenses, and they land in inboxes where they can be opened by employees.

Defending against sophisticated email attacks requires a defense-in-depth approach, which should include a spam filter/secure email gateway, a web filter, multifactor authentication, an endpoint detection and response solution, and security awareness training for employees. To improve protection further and defend against new and stealthy malware threats, it is important to have a malicious file sandbox for email.

What is a Malicious File Sandbox?

A malicious file sandbox is an isolated virtual environment where untrusted, suspicious files can be detonated securely without risking network or data security. The sandbox is used for analyzing emails, documents, application files, and other executable files to determine their true nature. When an email is received, it must first pass through a spam filter which looks for the common signatures of spam and phishing emails, performs reputation checks on the sender, analyzes the message content, and scans email attachments using antivirus software. The spam filter will filter out the majority of spam and phishing emails and all known malware variants using the antivirus software.

The problem is many email attacks are stealthy and have been developed to be undetectable, and cyber actors are skilled at getting their emails past email defenses and into inboxes. One way this is achieved is by using polymorphic malware, which cannot be detected by standard email security solutions and antivirus software. A malicious file sandbox is needed to protect against these novel threats.

When suspicious files are received that pass the front-end checks, they are sent to the sandbox for in-depth analysis of their behavior. The malicious file sandbox is configured to look like a real target environment to ensure that when an email is sent to the sandbox any malware acts as it would in the wild and is tricked into determining that it has landed on the endpoint of its intended target. No harm can be caused in the sandbox as the environment is isolated and not set up locally. If malware is detected, a report is generated of any malicious intent or unexpected actions, and actionable insights are provided to allow the threat to be blocked.

The SpamTitan Malicious File Sandboxing Service

SpamTitan is an award-winning anti-spam and anti-phishing solution from TitanHQ that is used by thousands of businesses and managed service providers to protect against email-based attacks. The solution leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to detect novel threats and predict new attacks, reputation checks are conducted using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, users are protected from malicious links in emails, and the solution has dual antivirus engines that scan for known malware.

SpamTitan also includes a Bitdefender-powered malicious file sandbox for blocking zero-day malware threats. The sandbox analyzes a broad range of targets, including emails, documents, application files, and other executable files, and leverages purpose-built, advanced machine-learning algorithms, aggressive behavior analysis, anti-evasion techniques, and memory snapshot comparison to detect sophisticated threats and delivers advanced threat protection and zero-day exploit detection. The sandbox also extracts, analyzes, and validates URLs within files.

The sandbox is not located on the endpoint so there are no performance implications, and strong machine learning and behavior detection technologies ensure that only files that require further analysis are sent to the Sandbox. If a malicious file is detected, the sandbox informs Bitdefender’s cloud threat intelligence service to ensure the threat is instantly blocked globally and will not need to be set to the sandbox for analysis again. The sandbox allows businesses to identify and block malicious files such as polymorphic malware and other threats that have been developed for use in undetectable attacks.

The SpamTitan malicious file sandbox delivers best-in-class detection, advanced anti-evasion technologies, innovative pre-filtering, and MITRE ATT&CK framework support. If you want the best protection from dangerous malware, you need a malicious file sandbox for email, and with SpamTitan you get that and more at a very affordable price. For more information on the capabilities of SpamTitan and details of pricing, give the TitanHQ team a call. SpamTitan is also available on a free 14-day trial to allow you to test the product in your own environment before making a purchasing decision.

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