A child's sandbox in a grassy field

Answer: Sandboxes

While many people think of the sand-filled children’s play area when faced with the term “sandbox”, within the field of computing a sandbox is a handy tool that serves as a container in which the user can run code, make modifications, and otherwise interact with software without putting the greater computer system at risk.

Sandboxes can be simple, such as the desktop software Sandboxie that creates simple sandboxes to contain single programs, or complex enough to incorporate multiple physical servers. Sandboxes offer a way for people to execute code and experiment without making permanent (and potentially damaging) changes to the system they’re working within.

A simple example of how a home user might take advantage of a sandbox would be to run their web browser sandboxed when visiting suspicious websites or when launching an application from a source they don’t fully trust—in both instances, the activity of the web browser and the application launch would be contained within the sandbox and any malicious changes would fail to reach the primary operating system (and would be completely discarded when the sandbox was terminated).




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