Prevent Drive-By Downloads With Sandboxie

   In the last several years cyber thieves have found various ways to infect computers and steal confidential information. One of the most insidious is the drive-by-download which infects your computer without any action on your part. The download may go unnoticed by you and your anti-virus due to stealth capabilities. In addition to keeping your computer’s operating system and all programs fully patched, particularly those which are attached to your browser such as Java and Flash, running your browser under the supervision of Sandboxie can prevent permanent damage.

   Sandboxie comes in two versions: free and paid. I recommend the free version for first time users. It has all the protection features of the paid version, except it only allows programs to run in a single sandbox and the forced program feature is disabled. Two non–default settings are particularly important. The feature which allows for automatic deletion of the contents of the sandbox cleans you computer of any potential infection every time you close your browser. It should be enabled. The blocked access feature allows you to protect folders, such as document folders, from being accessed during a sandboxed session. Folders that contain confidential files should likewise have blocked access enabled.

   These two features allow me to browse the web, confident in the knowledge that drive-by-downloads, man-in-the-browser attacks, and other malicious software will not compromise my computer or steal confidential information during a browsing session. Of course, this layer of protection is in addition to the usual ones of firewalls, anti-virus software, encryption, and best practices.

  The Sandboxie support forum is second to none. Tzuk, the developer, is on the board daily and has fixed his code at lightening speed for me on the two occasions when a maintenance upgrade caused problems. Sandboxie does have a definite learning curve. But, in a few days time if you make the effort, you will have a configuration that works they way you do with near bullet proof protection from stealthy malicious programs.