In computer security, a sandbox is a security mechanism for separating running programs. It is often used to execute untested or untrusted programs or code, possibly from unverified or untrusted third parties, suppliers, users or websites, without risking harm to the host machine or operating system. A sandbox typically provides a tightly controlled set of resources for guest programs to run in, such as scratch space on disk and memory. Network access, the ability to inspect the host system or read from input devices are usually disallowed or heavily restricted.
In the sense of providing a highly controlled environment, sandboxes may be seen as a specific example of virtualization. Sandboxing is frequently used to test unverified programs that may contain a virus or other malicious code, without allowing the software to harm the host device.
A sandbox is implemented by executing the software in a restricted operating system environment, thus controlling the resources (for example, file descriptors, memory, file system space, etc.) that a process may use.
Examples of sandbox implementations include the following:
Some of the use cases for sandboxes include the following:
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