Give Malware The Old Heave Ho! – Trap It With Sandboxie!

imageWouldn’t it be terrific if, following a mistake which led to malware making its way on to your computer, you could wave a magic wand, utter the words – “get thee gone” – and, quick as you like – no more malware infection?

Luckily, you can do just that. You don’t have to be a magician – you don’t have to deliver a magic enchantment – but, you do need to be running a sandbox based isolation application.

And that, brings me to Sandboxie – the King of isolation applications in Geek territory. Rather than geek you into the land of nod – today’s review is what I like to refer to as a “soft review”.

Simply put, Sandboxie, when active, creates a virtual environment (of a sort), on a computer by redirecting all system and application changes, to an unused location on a Hard Drive. These changes can be permanently saved to disk or, completely discarded.

A case in point for isolating web surfing:

While surfing the Net, an inexperienced user mistakenly accepts an invitation to install a scareware application but realizes, after the fact, that this is a scam. Operating in a “real” environment, the damage, unfortunately, would already have been done.

Operating in an isolated environment with Sandboxie active; the system changes made by this parasite could be completely discarded – since the attack occurred in a – “I’m not really here” environment .

An obvious part of reviewing an application is, providing a technical breakdown of just how an application gets the job done – or, in some cases how/why an application doesn’t quite get it done.

It’s not often that I get caught between the proverbial “rock and a hard place” in terms of illustrating an applications aptitude in getting the task accomplished. In this case however, Ronen Tzur, Sandboxie’s developer, has taken the expression – a picture is worth a thousand words – and definitely run with it. Well done Ronen!

From the site: Introducing Sandboxie

Sandboxie runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.

The red arrows indicate changes flowing from a running program into your computer. The box labeled Hard disk (no sandbox) shows changes by a program running normally.

The box labeled Hard disk (with sandbox) shows changes by a program running under Sandboxie. The animation illustrates that Sandboxie is able to intercept the changes and isolate them within a sandbox, depicted as a yellow rectangle. It also illustrates that grouping the changes together makes it easy to delete all of them at once.

Fast facts:

Secure Web Browsing: Running your Web browser under the protection of Sandboxie means that all malicious software downloaded by the browser is trapped in the sandbox and can be discarded trivially.

Enhanced Privacy: Browsing history, cookies, and cached temporary files collected while Web browsing stay in the sandbox and don’t leak into Windows.

Secure E-mail: Viruses and other malicious software that might be hiding in your email can’t break out of the sandbox and can’t infect your real system.

Windows Stays Lean: Prevent wear-and-tear in Windows by installing software into an isolated sandbox.

The developer has provided a clear and concise Getting Started tutorial – which includes:

How to to use Sandboxie to run your applications

How the changes are trapped in the sandbox

How to recover important files and documents out of the sandbox

How to delete the sandbox

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (32 and 64 bit).

Available languages: English, Albanian, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Polish, Portuguese (Brasil and Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

Download at: Sandboxie

A Caveat: You may run with Sandboxie free of charge – but, once past the initial 30 days, you will be reminded that a lifetime licensed version is available for € 29 ($38 USD at today’s conversion rate).

My good buddy from Portugal, José – a super geek – is of the opinion that Sandboxie is in a class of its own. I couldn’t agree more José.

16 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Cyber Criminals, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Malware Protection, Virtualization

16 responses to “Give Malware The Old Heave Ho! – Trap It With Sandboxie!

  1. Jose

    Sandboxie is indeed in a class of its own. No other security software comes close in both efficiency and ease of use. I won’t exaggerate by saying that my browsing life changed after discovering this gem some years ago.

    Thanks for the article Bill, keep up the good work.

  2. TRY

    SBIE is my favorite software and an important front-line defense against malwares on my Windows system, won’t go online without it.
    I’m really glad its developer Ronen Tzur is regularly updating it for all of us.

    Best Regards

    • Hey Try,

      Totally agree – I wish we could get all unaware users to understand how important this type of application can be.

      You’re right, Ronen stays right on top of updates. Tough job, but he does it well.

      Best,

      Bill

  3. delenn13

    Got the lifetime one..for 3 PCs. I love throwing the kids in the Sandbox when they come over and want to use the computers. It’s the best.

    Thumbs up, Bill.

    • Hey Delenn13,

      If one had no other reason to run with Sandboxie – you’ve just laid out one of the Best ever. Kudos to you! 🙂

      I’ve been running this for years and in all that time, this is only the second review – the last being almost 4 years ago. Shameful. 🙂

      If it hadn’t been for José, I probably wouldn’t have gotten off my butt. Shameful. 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  4. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Spot on, Sandboxie is an excellent app.
    Personally, I use Wondershare Time Freeze. This virtualizes the WHOLE computer, something I really like. I find it particularly useful because, being a big kid at heart, I play online games, and sometimes need to download extra components to get them running. I can do this, knowing once I reboot, said components are gone.
    Also, like Delenn, it’s great when kids come to visit and I can let them play on the computer, knowing they can’t stuff anything up.
    Whether it’s Sandboxie or another virtualization app, everyone should seriously consider using one.
    Cheers

    • Hey Mal,

      I quite like Wondershare Time Freeze – tested it a few times. Even ran with it for a few months – never had an issue.

      Knowing the kid you are – yeah, I can see why you like it. lol

      Solid advice – “everyone should seriously consider using one”. Totally agree (as if I’ve ever disagreed). 🙂

      Best,

      Bill

  5. pmshah

    Freeware Comodo Internet security has this feature built in. Only problem with it is that it tends to forget your past selected options for specific applications. Unfortunately this happens too frequently for comfort.

    Certainly can’t install it on novice / techno phob PC users.

    • Hey Pmshah,

      Yes, I’ve noticed mixed reviews regarding this suite. Especially concerning the issue you describe – its “forgetfulness”.

      I agree with your conclusion – it’s not suitable for “novice / techno phob PC users.” Hopefully, Comodo will deal with these issues including – intolerably slow scans.

      I had a recent experience with Comodo’s slow scans, and in fact, backed out of the application being tested (Comodo Cleaning Essentials). After roughly six hours, with 25% of the scan remaining, I simply lost patience.

      Glad you mentioned Comodo Internet Security – it’s worth keeping an eye on. We may yet see the kind of improvements we’re looking for.

      Well, we can always hope. 🙂

      Bill

  6. Dave Curtis

    Sandboxie is awesome. Never had an infection since being used, almost 4 years. My browser of choice. So simple to use, and it works. Using MSE and a firewall, malwarebytes, hitman pro. Thanks Bill for bringing this up. I install this on every computer I repair, and I never come back for malware removal.

    • Hey Dave,

      Yep, I think “awesome” fits nicely. Ten minutes or so with the Getting Started Tutorial, and an average user should be able to “get along”. It might look a little bit scary to some but you hit it squarely – “So simple to use”.

      Terrific to hear that you install it on the machines that pass your way. Now, if we could convince more people to do that – well, I know it’s wishful thinking but,……

      Great to hear from you, Dave.

      Best,

      Bill

  7. Bill:
    Really like your articles and will re-post on stlouis.org. Does Sandboxie run on System 7? Thanks in advance
    -Michael

    • Hey Michael,

      If you’re referring to the very old Mac OS System 7 then Sandboxie will not run. If you’re referring to Win 7, then yes – Sandboxie is perfect.

      Thanks for the reblog – appreciate that.

      Bill