By George Mack, Content Marketing Manager, Check Point.
Nearly all employees use email, making it an attractive attack vector for hackers.
If you want to improve your organization’s security, then relying solely on your email service provider’s spam filters is not enough. You’ll need to augment your spam filters with an additional layer of email security, which typically includes sandboxing. Without sandboxing, your users are likely to click on emails containing spam, phishing attacks, ransomware, and other cyber attacks.
What is email sandboxing?
Sandboxing is a technique that acts a security check. It involves creating a secure, isolated environment for running potentially malicious software or files. This controlled environment, often referred to as a “sandbox,” allows cyber security software to run suspicious programs without exposing the system or network to the actual threat while behavior is analyzed. If deemed safe, then the file, URL, or code is allowed to pass through to the end-user.
Here’s a real-life example to illustrate sandboxing. In the past, a king would hire tasters to test each dish before he consumed it. If the king’s subject experienced illness, then the illness was contained without spreading to the king, and the food was thrown away. If the food resulted in no ill-effects, then the test was passed, and the food was deemed safe for the king to eat.
In this analogy, the king’s food represents the potentially malicious URL or file; the food taster acts as the “sandbox” for the king’s food; and the king represents your computer or operating system.
Regarding email, email sandboxing is a feature that’s used to test suspicious files that are attached to emails or check potentially malicious links. After you implement email sandboxing, every email must pass the sandboxing test before delivering to the inbox. The links will be checked, and all files will be downloaded and analyzed inside the sandbox. Any spam or malicious emails will also be filtered out.
Is email sandboxing necessary?
According to Gartner’s Market Guide for Email Security, email is still the most common attack vector. Forty percent of ransomware attacks are initiated through email, and 19% of data breaches are caused by stolen credentials, many of which are gathered through email-borne phishing attacks. And according to the Anti Phishing Work Group, the number of phishing attacks has grown by more than 150% per year since 2019. Clearly, email threats are not going away.
Email sandboxing is used to identify and block these threats. If it identifies a zero-day threat, then the sandbox’s threat intelligence is passed along to all other users of the security software who have a corresponding threat intelligence feed.
What are the benefits of email sandboxing?
Using a sandbox provides several key benefits:
- Host device protection: Sandbox environments preserve the integrity of your host devices and operating systems by isolating potentially malicious software, preventing any harm to your core system.
- Zero-day threat isolation: Sandboxing offers a safeguard against zero-day threats by quarantining and neutralizing them within a secure environment.
- Attachment and link assessment: When dealing with email attachments and links from unknown sources, email sandboxing allows for thorough testing in order to detect potential threats before they are delivered to users’ inboxes.
- Data breach prevention: Sandboxing can prevent data breaches that often result from when an employee falls victim to a phishing page and gives up his or her account credentials.
How do you implement sandboxing?
Check Point’s Harmony Email & Collaboration security solution is an invaluable tool for businesses of all sizes. It provides evasion-resistant CPU-level sandbox that blocks first-time seen malware and keeps you protected from the most advanced cyber threats.
It also equips your organization with comprehensive protection against the latest email threats, such as phishing, malware, and ransomware. With its advanced security features, Harmony Email & Collaboration can help businesses protect their data and ensure compliance with regulations.
For more email security insights, please see CyberTalk.org’s past coverage. Lastly, to receive timely cyber security insights and cutting-edge analyses, please sign up for the cybertalk.org newsletter.