In computing and cybersecurity, a sandbox is a security mechanism used to run applications or processes in a controlled, isolated environment. This technique helps protect the main system from potential threats and vulnerabilities by isolating the execution of code, particularly untrusted or potentially harmful code.

Key Features of a Sandbox


Applications or processes running in the sandbox are completely isolated from the main operating system and other applications.

Temporary Environment

Changes made within the sandbox are temporary and usually discarded once the sandbox is closed or reset.

Controlled Resources

The sandbox can control the resources allocated to the applications or processes, such as memory, CPU, and file system access.

Security Testing

It allows for safe testing of untrusted software and code without risking the integrity of the main system.

    Solutions Provided by Sandboxing

    Malware Analysis

    Sandboxes are used by cybersecurity professionals to analyze the behavior of malware without risking infection of the main system. This helps in understanding how malware operates and how it can be mitigated.

    Safe Testing Environment

    Developers use sandboxes to test new applications or updates in a controlled environment before deploying them to production systems. This ensures that any bugs or issues are identified and resolved in a safe setting.

    Secure Browsing

    Some browsers and security software use sandboxing to isolate web content and prevent malicious websites from affecting the host system.


    Sandboxing is a form of virtualization that allows multiple applications to run on the same physical hardware while keeping them isolated from each other. This is commonly used in cloud computing and containerization (e.g., Docker).

    Protection Against Exploits

    By running potentially vulnerable applications in a sandbox, exploits can be contained and prevented from spreading to the rest of the system.

    Compliance and Auditing

    Sandboxing can help organizations meet compliance requirements by providing a secure environment for sensitive data processing and auditing activities without risking data breaches.

      Examples of Sandbox Solutions

      In summary, sandboxes provide a critical layer of security by isolating potentially dangerous code from the main system, thus allowing safe analysis, testing, and execution of applications. This is essential in modern cybersecurity practices to mitigate the risk of malware, exploits, and other threats across various environments including network, Windows, and Linux systems.

      Network Sandboxing:

      FortiGate Sandbox

      Fortinet’s FortiSandbox is a network security solution that integrates with FortiGate firewalls to provide advanced threat detection and protection. It uses sandboxing technology to detect and analyze advanced threats and malware in a controlled environment, providing an additional layer of security for network traffic.

      Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP)

      Cisco AMP for Networks uses sandboxing to detect and block advanced threats by analyzing suspicious files and activity in a secure, isolated environment.

      Palo Alto Networks WildFire

      WildFire provides advanced threat detection and prevention using sandboxing technology to analyze suspicious files and URLs in a secure environment, integrated with Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Generation Firewalls.

        Windows Sandbox:

        Windows Sandbox

        A lightweight desktop environment included in Windows 10 and Windows 11, designed for safely running applications in isolation.


        A popular sandboxing application for Windows that creates isolated environments for running programs and browsers.

        Virtual Machines (VMs)

        Software like VMware and VirtualBox create full operating system environments that can act as sandboxes.

          Linux System Sandboxing:


          A SUID program that reduces the risk of security breaches by restricting the running environment of untrusted applications using Linux namespaces and seccomp-bpf.


          A Linux kernel security module that allows the system administrator to restrict programs’ capabilities with per-program profiles.

          SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux)

          A set of kernel modifications and user-space tools that provide a mechanism for supporting access control security policies, including mandatory access controls (MAC).

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