The cyberattacks of the last few years have evolved to being much more sophisticated than they were just 5 or 10 years ago. Many of them use unknown malware to try to breach gateway and endpoint protection systems, with a goal of sitting silently on your system to steal what they want undetected.
And the statistics show that the stealth abilities of these advanced persistent threats (APTs) are only getting better. In 2018, the average time for a business to detect a data breach grew to 197 days. That’s over 6 months from the time a data breach happens until it’s usually detected in a network.
In a 6-month timeframe, a lot of company data can be compromised including:
- Client credit card details
- Company login credentials
- Bank account information
- Employee & client SSNs and other sensitive data
- Proprietary company files
As part of our managed IT services for companies in the Fresno area, Unity IT helps them ensure the security of their data and network with advanced cybersecurity solutions, such as attachment and URL sandboxing. This next-gen technology is designed to catch APTs that are trying to fly under the radar of endpoint security systems.
It takes companies on average 69 days to contain a data breach once it’s found.
Beyond the cost of a breach itself, which averages $148 per each lost or stolen record (that’s $148,000 for just 1,000 records!), the productivity costs after the fact while working to contain and clean up the breach can be devastating to many small businesses.
Sandboxing of email attachments and URLs goes a long way towards stopping those advanced threats and keeping them from sitting silently and undetected for months or years.
So, what is sandboxing and how does it work? We’ll go over that next for both email attachments and website URLs.
What is Sandboxing & Why Do I Need It?
The term “sandboxing” refers to creating a contained area, like a sandbox, for a potential threat to “play in,” or more appropriately, reveal its true intent. Many APTs are designed to mask their malicious intent to help them get though typical cybersecurity defenses undetected, then once they’ve breached your system, they wake up and attack.
An IT security sandbox creates a separate environment that is like a holding cell for any suspicious email attachments, URLs, or other threats. The APT believes it’s in the computer environment and past defenses, so it executes its malicious code, allowing the security software to recognize it as malicious and contain or remove it.
The sandbox is an isolated environment that’s separate from your main computer system or network, so while the threat is in the sandbox it can’t harm your system.
Sandboxing is important because it adds another filter to your overall cybersecurity infrastructure that is specifically designed to catch new and unknown threats that might not yet be in a known virus or malware database.
How Does Email Attachment Sandboxing Work?
Phishing is the number one cause of data breaches and it’s generally done by sending an email masquerading as legitimate that has malware hidden in an attachment or link.
This method of breaching a network is so popular because it works. Fakes are getting more difficult to spot, which is why email security that can help your users avoid threat-laden attachments is vital to securing your network against phishing attacks.
When any email containing an attachment is received by your organization, the attachment sandboxing technology scans them for any malicious content before they even get to your inbox.
If any attachments look suspicious, they’re sent to the virtual sandbox environment, which mirror’s a user’s computer, for real-time analysis for any suspicious activity.
How Does URL Sandboxing Work?
Another threat posed by both phishing emails and social media phishing attacks are URLs that go to malicious websites designed to automatically download malware when you visit them.
The way that URL sandboxing works is that all URLs visited or contained in email messages are redirected to the sandbox first to check them out for anything that looks dangerous.
If the site is safe, then the user is redirected there after the sandbox check. If the site looks suspicious, the user receives a warming message that the website may not be safe or that the page is blocked (depending upon your settings).
How Sandboxing Goes Beyond Standard Antivirus/Anti-Malware Applications
Many of the standard antivirus and anti-malware applications depend upon finding known signatures of all different types of malware, spyware, viruses, trojans, and more. But there are approximately 360,000 new malicious files detected every single day.
That’s a lot for any database to keep up with, and then when you add in whether an application has been updated regularly or a recent security patch applied, there could be even more undetected threats getting through a standard antivirus program.
Sandboxing was engineered as a way to catch the unknowns. By scanning everything – email attachments and URLs – and putting any that aren’t absolutely know to be legitimate in the sandbox to observe their behavior, these “sleeper” APTs can be caught before they have a chance to breach your network.
Download our Free Cybersecurity Checklist
Stay protected from hackers and ensure there are no vulnerabilities in your IT security plan. Unity IT offers a free Cybersecurity Checklist for Businesses that is a must for protecting your data security, download it today.
For any IT security questions in Fresno or the surrounding area, give us a call anytime at 559-297-1007, we’d love to help you!