Protection and security against malware threats should be top priority for every computer user. Conventional antispyware and antivirus programs are not always ahead of potential dangers such as viruses, worms, trojans, rogue software, pop ups, or forced modifications to the browser/operating system. A unique and powerful approach to safeguard one’s livelihood in the digital area is through isolation and prevention as opposed to the commonplace reacting technologies.
More specifically, the user’s hard drive space, normal files, and OS is completely isolated via a virtual environment (quarantined folder/s) from browsing activity or program utilizations. In addition, developers can use this software to analyze different versions of the same program simultaneously. Sandboxie is the software that specializes in virtual sandbox protection and does the job exceedingly well.
Out of the box usage is appreciated by users with beginner to intermediate PC skills, whereas the configuration menu is highly customizable and geared towards more advanced users. The platforms supported are Windows 2000 up to Windows 8 (32 bit and 64 bit). After installation, clicking the icon (e.g., “Sandboxed Web Browser”) will load the default browser. A yellow highlighted border appears on the browser window edges when hovering a mouse cursor over it. Saved files are sent to a quarantined folder called “Quick Recovery” for manual access. The option also exists to set the default downloads folder to the “Quick Recovery”; this will save to the hard disk (bypassing manual recovery). “Delete Contents” will remove any files and processes, leaving the browser and OS in it’s initial state.
“Windows Shell Integration” gives the options on when the sandbox starts, which icons are created, and how a sandboxed session is accessed. For example, right-clicking any program opens a virtual sandbox version. “Software Compatibility” automatically detects programs with no compatibility issues, yet the settings allow adding other applications. The feature called “Explore Contents” permit the user to open and test files that are suspicious. Settings from the default sandbox folder can be exported to the “Create New Folder” option.
The drive letter can be changed by choosing “Set Container Folder”. Sandboxes can be grouped and ordered with “Set Layout and Groups”. Renaming and removing a sandbox can also be done with a click, although the contents must be deleted first. “Terminate All Programs” halts all programs running in a sandbox at once with no saving of data. “Disable Forced Programs” gives the flexibility to disable, for a limited amount of time (10 seconds or as specified in settings), any forced programs in sandboxed folders. Configuration provides greater control over security. The “Restrictions” sub-menu creates access level rules for select programs similar to a firewall.
Then, the “User Accounts” can be set to a limited user, which may prevent hijacking or keylogger infiltrations. “Lock Configuration” impedes unauthorized modifications by requiring either Administrator Rights or a password. Clicking “Edit Configuration” will bring up the INI file, which can be manually changed in the default text reader. “Reload Configuration” causes the sandbox to fall back to the INI configuration file. Log files during recovery help to keep things organized.
There are a few virtual sandbox alternatives worth mentioning. Cameyo deals with application virtualization and focuses on keeping the system registry clean. Another forerunner is EvaLaze, which helps to create virtual environments for programs without having to install them in the traditional sense. Geswall is mainly a firewall with the ability to isolate programs in a virtual sandbox.
To sum up, adding a proactive tier of protection to your computer no longer requires years of experience or exceptional technical talent thanks to Sandboxie. Originality and solid functionality makes this software reliable and highly recommended.
The security software was developed by Ronen Tzur in June 26, 2004 using C++. The company is called Sandboxie Holdings LLC, and the website is www.sandboxie.com (registered within the U.S.).
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