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Monday, 07 August 2017 08:15

Researcher details method for sandboxing Windows Defender

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A security researcher has created a means of running Windows Defender within a sandbox so that any attacks on it do not take down the entire Windows system on which it is running.

Andy Ying, from security firm Trail of Bits, detailed his method in a blog post last week.

He said he had released the code which he had used, under the name Flying Sandbox Monster.

Ying's work comes in the wake of the discovery of numerous bugs in Windows Defender by Google.

He said the core of this code was AppJailLauncher-rs, a Rust-based framework to contain untrustworthy apps in AppContainers.

It would also allow wrapping the I/O of an application behind a TCP server, letting the sandboxed application run on a completely different machine so that it had an additional isolating later.

Ying pointed out that the core Windows Defender process, MsMpEng, ran as a service with SYSTEM privileges, the scanning engine, MpEngine, supported the parsing of a huge number of file formats and also provided full-system emulators for different architectures and language interpreters.

"All of this, performed with the highest level of privilege on a Windows system. Yikes," he wrote.

Ying has provided a detailed technical explanation of his method here and also listed the reasons he used Rust to write the code.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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