What Is A Sandbox In Security?

What Is A Sandbox In Security?


Sandbox is a security mechanism in computer programming to run untested code in an isolated environment. This can be done using different tools and technologies, depending on the operating system used. When talking about website development it’s known as sandbox testing or Virtual Environment (VE), but when talking about web application security it’s known as Web Sandbox. In this case the author of the code is an attacker.

When talking about website development there are two types of sandboxing: client side and server side.

In client-side sandboxes, which are also known as a sandboxed browser tab, a new instance of a browser tab is created with limited privileges for running untested code from an external party (the attacker). This method has some limitations, but it’s more secure than server-side sandboxes because the code runs locally on the user’s machine and not directly on the web server. There’s no need to expose backend services to attackers; all they can do is draw pixels on another HTML document. Unfortunately it isn’t possible to provide JavaScript APIs because browsers lack access to the file system or native OS APIs. It is possible to allow local subnetworks though, which implies there are some restrictions on available ports.

Sandboxing in web applications is very important because it allows developers to test ideas without giving access to production data, which minimizes the risk of leaking credentials or other sensitive information. The bad news is that most companies do not implement any form of security testing before putting their software into production environments. This means there probably are hundreds or thousands of web applications hacked every day, which leads to loss of reputation and liability.

Impact on Organization:

Sandbox testing has a great potential for improving an organization’s security posture, but only if the developers and testers know how it works and how to use it. Generally speaking there are two types of sandboxing: server-side and client-side. The former is known as Web Sandbox or Security Testing Environment (STE) where source code is run on a local environment that emulates production servers with sample data. It’s known as white box testing because the tester knows all the details such as back end API addresses, credentials, etc… With white box testing we can automate some penetration tests by crawling inside the application manually with no assistance from outside sources.

On the other side there’s black box testing or Black Box Security Testing (BBS), which is done by forcing an application to follow a predefined path. For example, if the aim of the tester is to check how well credentials are protected in transit between server and client-side, he/she will use man-in-the-middle attack techniques. This way it’s impossible for developers to test security because they don’t know what their code does unless they read the results provided by testers. It should be stated that black box testing isn’t without its flaws as hackers have been using automated tools since forever so some loopholes might be missed. But on average this method provides a better result than white box testing because rouge codes are still in use.

Merits of Sandbox in Security:

– Allows testers to try different vulnerabilities without risks.

– Provides a more secure environment for testing.

– Code can be run in an isolated network, which means no other services will be attacked or blocked during tests (e.g., firewall rules).

Limitations of Sandbox Testing:

– Have to find creative ways for providing APIs without giving access to the file system or native OS.

– Developers need to learn how sandboxing works and be able to use it.

– It’s not possible to test code with sensitive data such as credentials and banking information. Instead we need to use fake data with the same structure and format.

– Not all browsers support this kind of testing, it depends on how web applications are programmed and what technologies they use (e.g., HTML5, JavaScript, etc..) because some APIs might not be available in certain scenarios.

Application security is one of the most important topics nowadays, but it’s also one of the most ignored by developers and companies. Sandbox testing is just one form of penetration testing that can help with securing web applications.


As it was previously stated, testing web applications is a mandatory procedure before going live to production. There are thousands of cases where companies have been hacked and the only reason is they didn’t test their code properly. Sandboxing allows developers to make sure their code works as intended without accessing actual data or breaking the rules set by firewalls and IPS. This is a great tool that can help improve web application security.

Sandboxing is very important in web application security because it allows developers to test their ideas without running the risk of leaking credentials or other sensitive information. White box testing provides a more secure environment for testers while black box testing allows hackers to find loopholes that might be missed by white box testing. Sandbox testing should be used with every new project before deploying into production servers.

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