Sandboxing is a security technique that helps limit potential problems that could come from malicious applications. Apple added this tool to Mac OS in 2012 to limit the damage caused when using an application.
Find out how sandboxing works and why you should use it.
What is sandboxing?
Sandboxing, or literally “sandbox,” is a computer security mechanism that aims to reduce potential damage if a vulnerability is found and exploited in your Mac’s system. In other words, sandboxing makes it possible to analyze and observe code in isolation and insecurity while reproducing the end-user’s operating environment.
The sandbox should be viewed as an isolated test area.
This is because sandboxing allows software to run while having restrictions on what it can do. This allows more security and allows the user to analyze the operation of an application and, therefore, use it in a test environment before actual use. Thus, you can separate how software behaves into safe behaviors and unsafe behaviors.
The use of the sandbox is also of interest in terms of cybercrime and viruses. Indeed, thanks to sandboxing, you can use infected software or files without infecting the rest of the system since they are isolated.
Sandboxing application on Mac OS: how does it work?
By acting as an isolated test area, the sandbox helps analyze software behavior.
To access the external area of the sandbox, each application must request permission from the operating system. It is, therefore, the operating system that has control over the refusal or acceptance of this request.
By allowing systems and applications to do what they need to do, and no more, the risk of the application being compromised and creating device damage is limited.
To find out which applications are placed in the sandbox by Apple, just run the following command: “$ cd/usr/share/sandbox”.
When to use a sandboxing application?
There are several reasons for the use of the sandbox. The main reason is when you don’t trust the app you just downloaded from the internet without being able to verify its source code. Indeed, sandboxing such an application allows you to analyze its behavior and verify that it is reliable before allowing it access to your entire system.
Reducing the access that an application can have to your files in this way helps prevent damage that could be caused by the use of that application on your system.
Using sandboxing is also useful when you need to access external websites.
Using the sandbox is a good way to protect yourself against certain security holes, but be aware that it does not replace the use of an anti-virus. In addition, using a VPN on Mac is almost essential to complete these measures and ensure optimal security.
Apple offers two ways to use sandboxing:
1. Use the sandbox library directly from the source code of the application.
2. Run an arbitrary application that uses external sandboxing commands.
How to sandbox an application?
To sandbox an application, you need to create a sandbox configuration file for an existing application. This lets Mac OS know what resources the application can access and use.
On the other hand, it is not always easy to know the essential resources for the proper functioning of the application. You will be able to discover them by making several attempts to understand them. Mastering the sandbox takes time and requires making mistakes to get the operation you want.
Mac OS applications and the sandbox
Be aware that the applications you can download from the Apple Store are controlled and, in principle, safe. Some pretty clever hackers may use a loophole. It is, therefore, interesting to use the sandbox to avoid any disappointment. Find out how Apple keeps its apps safe with sandboxing.
The sandbox is therefore not a miracle solution. It helps protect your system from the damage that a hacked application could cause. Indeed, the damage is minimized thanks to sandboxing.