A sandbox allows you to run an entire operating system in a safe environment so malicious code can be executed and analyzed without hampering your current operating system. It runs on a separate system and provides your security teams an isolated environment where they can test and understand vulnerabilities in malicious code. It can not only protect you from malicious code but can also safeguard your systems from zero-day threats.
According to Dino Dai Zovi, security researcher, “Sandboxing” is the future of cybersecurity. It is a practice of separating applications processes from applications, operating system, and user data. Sandboxing raises the bar significantly enough that attackers will have to turn to other [types of attacks], like rogue antivirus software.”
If you are planning to invest in a sandbox solution, then you are at the right place. In this article, you will learn about seven questions you need to ask before selecting a sandbox solution.
1. Do I Really Need a Sandbox?
When it comes to technology adoption, most businesses are guilty of following the hype. Just because there is a lot of hype surrounding a particular technology does not mean you should adopt. Just because many of your competitors are adopting best dedicated servers does not mean that it will also be feasible for you. It is a common misconception that sandbox technology is only good for enterprises.
With more than 40% of cybersecurity attacks targeting small businesses, even small businesses should adopt sandbox technology to protect themselves from malicious code and cybersecurity attacks just like large scale enterprises does. Understand how much damage a cybersecurity attack can do to your business and evaluate whether it is worth it to invest in sandbox technology or not. Assess your business needs and make the decision based on that instead of following the hype.
2. How Does Sandbox Work?
Generally, sandboxes are available as a separate cloud service. It not only allows businesses to detect malware but also destroy malicious code in a safe environment, without negatively impacting their current operations. More importantly, users can also study code belier and output. This allows businesses to save a lot of money and give them a platform where they can test their application code before deployment.
When McAfee acquired ValidEdge, an anti-malware sandboxing technology from LynuxWorks way back in 2013, Pat Calhoun, general manager and senior vice president of McAfee at that time said, “ValidEdge technology works by running code inside the safety of a sandbox so that malicious activity associated with malware can be detected in a replicated operating system without risk to the customer’s network. Augmenting McAfee’s current line of host and network defense products with sandboxing will provide the basis for what is being called McAfee Advanced Threat Defense.” His statement clearly showed that it was a move by McAfee to add new malware detection capabilities to its network and endpoint products.
3. What Type of Integration Should I Choose?
Sandboxes adds an extra layer to your business security. When choosing a sandbox, users can either go for a secure email gateway, secure web gateway, firewall and other solution based on their business needs. Make sure to check for compatibility so it can easily integrate with your current systems and software. Also check whether your vendor allows sandboxing or not as some vendors do not allow sandboxing. If your vendor does not support sandboxing, you might have to switch vendors for it, which is not always easy to do especially with vendors tying organizations in many years’ contracts. If you are stuck with any such contract, then you are out of luck with sandboxing.
4. What Kind of Files and Objects Sandbox Can Examine?
A sandbox supports different types of files and objects. Make sure you check the supported files and objects the sandbox supports because you do not want to buy a sandbox solution that does not support the type of files and objects you want to test. Choose a sandbox solution which supports a wide range of file formats and supports objects such as URLs and more. Most cybercriminals use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF files to spread malware infections hence, your chosen sandbox solution should be able to check those file formats.
5. Which Tactics Hackers Use to Get Past a Sandbox?
Just like every other security technology, cyber attackers also use different shady tactics to circumvent sandboxing. They create malware which can fly under the radar and go undetected. Your traditional detection and protection tools will not be able to identify these threats. Talk to your vendor about such threats and ask them whether their sandboxing solution can detect such threats or not. Select a sandboxing solution, which uses advanced technologies capable of identifying and map those evasion techniques so these malwares can never go undetected.
6. Does the Sandbox have Its Own Threat Database?
Just like an antivirus software, a sandbox uses its own threat database to detect threats. Always choose a sandbox that has a threat intelligence database or network. Sandbox having a threat intelligence database will already contain all the known malware threats as they will already be marked malicious. This reduces the risk of known threat infections. Unfortunately, that does not mean that the threat intelligence database can protect you from new and emerging threats as well.
7. Is Sandbox the Only Solution I Need?
Just like other security solutions, sandbox should not be considered as the only solution you need. It is best suitable with other security tools. Despite this, a sandbox solution should also offer other protection mechanisms and techniques including, antivirus, AI and machine learning based tools and firewalls to name just a few.
Businesses are struggling to keep their sensitive data safe and the growing numbers of successful data breaches and cybersecurity attacks are testament to that. Despite this, many businesses might see sandboxing technology as a complex and expensive investment, which is not the case.
What things do you consider when choosing a sandbox solution? Let us know in the comments section below.