Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sandboxie, Part 2

No, you didn't miss Part 1. It was a part of Safe Computing, for real!, which introduced the notion of using a virtual computer (or sandbox) for safe surfing. But, there are a few assorted comments worth adding, so here they are:

  • If you are surfing the web from within a Sandbox and decide to download a utility, say, the utility gets downloaded, but not to where it appears. For example, suppose you save it to a folder c:\downloads. The sandbox actually saves it to c:\{sandbox}}\downloads, where {sandbox} is the location of your sandbox. You can extract files the sandbox. You can do it manually, but Sandboxie, for example, will tell you that there are files that can be moved outside the sandbox and ask if you'd like it done.
  • A sandbox can be used for things other than surfing the web. You can run programs in it. I often install evaluation copies of products in a sandbox. That way, it doesn't leave junk on my computer when I decide it's not worth keeping. (If I decide it is worth keeping, I install it in the usual manner outside the sandbox.) Also, if it installs additional software either without telling me or because I overlooked a check box, everything goes away when the sandbox is emptied.
  • A sandbox will probably not protect your Facebook account. That is, there are a bunch of viruses and trojans whose object is to gain control of your Facebook account or mess it up in some other way. A sandbox can't help you here. If you start a rogue application within Facebook, it does its damage on Facebook's site. Facebook doesn't know if the program was invoked from a sandbox. It doesn't care. All Facebook knows is that it was instructed to run something. So, it runs something!

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