Wednesday, May 22, 2024

How Malware Sandboxes Strengthen Your Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, threatening organizations’ critical infrastructure and sensitive data more than ever. Core solutions such as SIEMs are often insufficient to ensure complete protection against malware infections, especially new and unexplored ones.

As a result, security specialists require additional tools to strengthen their proactive approach, streamline their operations, and increase productivity. 

Malware sandboxes are the best candidates for this role, as they can be used for fast analysis of suspicious files and links and in-depth investigations into the behavior of the most persistent threats.

What is a Malware Sandbox?

A malware sandbox is a virtual machine that safely analyzes files and URLs to assess their threat level and examine them on a granular scale. It provides up-to-date Indicators of Compromise (IOCs), detailed breakdowns of processes triggered by malicious programs, and malware configurations, which can inform analysts’ decisions and actions against future attacks.

Types of Malware Sandboxes

There are two main types of malware sandboxes: automatic and interactive. 

Automatic sandboxes run the malware without any user involvement, while interactive sandboxes provide a few extra features that allow the analyst to control the environment and interact with the malware directly in real-time, which opens new horizons for analysis.

ANY.RUN is an example of an advanced interactive malware sandbox, which is used by DFIR and SOC teams and individual specialists around the world.

Benefits of a Malware Sandbox

Increased visibility into malware behavior

Malware sandboxes provide detailed information about how malware operates, including the files it accesses, the network connections it makes, and the commands it executes. Such details are vital for developing better defenses.

Reduced risk of infection

Organizations can prevent malware from infecting their systems by running any suspicious file in a safe sandbox environment. Obtaining the file’s threat level immediately will help you avoid any damage.

Faster response to threats 

Sandboxes reduce the time needed to respond to threats by analyzing and offering information on newly detected malware in seconds. This helps to contain the attack before it gains access to sensitive data.

Extended analysis capabilities

An interactive sandbox features additional options that let professionals conduct more comprehensive research into malware. For instance, analysts can change the local settings to detonate region-specific malware, run programs, reset the system, and perform other interactions to uncover the complete picture of the attack.

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How Organizations Use Malware Sandboxes

Malware Analysis

Researchers reverse engineer malware to extract its code and configuration and use it to develop better ways to protect organizations against future attacks. This process is manual and lengthy since it involves decrypting various complex obfuscation mechanics employed by malware developers.

Analysts can spend up to 30 minutes searching for crucial information, even with a familiar sample. However, a malware sandbox can largely automate the analysis process and help professionals complete it in seconds.

Automatic extraction of malware configuration in a sandbox

Scanning of Suspicious Email Attachments

Research shows that one out of every 100 emails your team receives could be a phishing attempt, and one out of every 200 emails could contain malicious software.

Organizations incorporate sandbox solutions into their security stack to reduce the risk and protect themselves from potential disasters. Thus, whenever they receive a new suspect file or link over email, they simply submit it to a malware sandbox, which quickly returns a verdict on whether it is safe to open.

Threat Intelligence

Security specialists must collect up-to-date information across numerous sources to be better equipped against emerging and particularly persistent threats targeting their particular organization. Sandboxes can assist specialists in assessing various malicious samples and gathering IOCs and other details needed to make informed decisions.

Automatic extraction of malware configuration in a sandbox

Malware sandboxes also come in handy when addressing successfully executed attacks. By running the malware found in the system through a sandbox, analysts can quickly gain knowledge of the attack.

You can see how fast and detailed a sandbox can be by looking at this Agent Tesla analysis.

Sandboxes are equally helpful in the case of zero-day attacks. These are a significant concern for organizations because they abuse recently discovered vulnerabilities. Still, by uploading such malware to a sandbox, professionals can safely study how the attack unfolds.

Threat alerts review

Analysts use sandboxes as part of their manual processing of alerts generated by SIEMs. This helps them determine whether a certain file is a threat and closely examine its activities in an isolated environment. On top of that, thanks to Sandboxes’ user-friendly interface, reviewing alerts can be allocated to junior-level staff.


Malware sandboxes are a powerful tool that can aid organizations in maintaining the security of their infrastructure. Using a malware sandbox, you can monitor how malware behaves, minimize the risk of infections, and respond to potential threats instantly.

ANY.RUN is an interactive sandbox that can amplify the ability of any security team to identify threats and gain essential intelligence on any attack. 

Start your 14-day free trial of ANY.RUN’s top plan to see how it can improve your security posture.


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