Imagine being able to test any software or visit any website without worrying about your computer getting infected with a virus. This is what the browser sandbox does. This can be done using the Sandbox app built into Windows 10 or another free app called Sandboxie. However, the Sandboxie app is the easiest way to do this. Have we already said it’s free?
What is Sandbox Browser?
Sandbox is a bit of a weird term to use with computers, but think about what a real sandbox does. This is a set of walls to keep all the sand inside. Otherwise, it will simply crawl out and ruin part of the lawn. It also gives us some space to play.
The browser sandbox we’re talking about does the same. It keeps things inside so they don’t crawl out and ruin the computer. Plus, there is a place here where you can play freely without worry.
Windows 10 Sandbox
If you have Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education, there is a built-in sandboxing feature. We have an article showing how to install and use Windows 10 Sandbox. If you have the correct Windows version and sandbox installed, you can use it to browse the web. The default is Edge. If you want to use a different browser, you need to install it in Windows 10 Sandbox.
But there is a big problem. Every time you close Windows Sandbox, you lose all settings. This means that the next time you open it, it will look like a fresh install of Windows. We’ll have to re-configure everything.
If you want to use a browser other than Edge, you need to install it. You need to transfer bookmarks and reinstall your favorite browser extensions and add-ons. Bookmarks are not saved. No extensions or add-ons are saved.
It is true that you can configure Windows Sandbox to support some things between sessions. But for this you need to find and edit the XML configuration file. This is more than most people want to do.
Sandboxie to browse the web in sandbox
Sandboxie is a funny name, but it’s a powerful sandbox tool from Sophos. Sophos is a leader in digital security. Sandboxie is a complete sandbox. It can run any program, so it is useful for testing software, opening fragmentary email attachments, and browsing the web, among other things. Plus it’s free.
Download Sandboxie now for free. Install it and check out the manual to see how it works.
Today we’ll just take a look at the Sandboxie web browser. However, Sandboxie can do much more! Play with this.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed Sandboxie, browsing is as easy as a regular web browser. Sandboxie will place a shortcut on your desktop. Just double-click the isolated web browser icon that Sandboxie will place on your desktop.
The browser will open by default with all its current bookmarks and extensions. You can use the Internet as always. No additional configuration is required as in Windows Sandbox. This is what makes Sandboxie better for most people than Windows Sandbox.
What happens in browser sandbox?
Sandboxie has isolated all the processes that make the web browser run from everything else running on the computer. It’s almost like a mini-computer inside a computer.
Sandboxie gives the browser enough resources and permissions to do what it is supposed to do. Anything in it trying to access resources beyond that will be rejected. You can also see exactly what the browser is doing when it does it. Double click the Sandboxie icon in the taskbar to see the Sandboxie control window. It will show all running processes that the browser sandbox is using.
How do you know which window is in the sandbox? What if you have multiple browsers open? Just move your mouse to the top of the window. If it’s a Sandboxie window, a yellow selection box will appear at the edge of the browser.
Why don’t web browsers already use Sandbox?
Most web browsers use sandboxing. However, people are still getting viruses from websites. And there are apparently sandbox degrees. It is difficult to get detailed information on how different web browsers use the sandbox. If they said, “We put everything in the sandbox except this and such.” then they will admit that they are not as secure as they would like us to think.
The options we’ve shown indicate that they are 100% sandboxed. Apart from reverse engineering programs, you must either trust these browsers or not. If you want to try reverse engineering a program, check out Ghidra. Ghidra is a free reverse engineering tool from the National Security Agency (NSA)
We are not saying that all web browsers are insecure. They are as safe as we want them to be. But you can make your web browser more secure by using the browser sandbox. If you are concerned about the security of our current browser outside of our test environment, consider using a different browser. There are other browser options you might not be aware of.
Will sandbox browsing protect my browser completely?
The short answer is yes, browsing in the browser’s sandbox will protect you. The long answer is this: it will not protect you completely. If you are using the browser sandbox to just browse websites, then yes, you are protected. But if you use a sandboxed browser to download something, and then open that download outside of the test environment, you are not protected. Unless you’re using Sandboxie to do this.
Would you use a sandboxed browser? What would you use it for? Do you know of any other ways to isolate your web browsing from the rest of your computer? Let us know in the comments!