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sandbox
Last modified: Monday, September 30, 2002 

A security measure in the Java development environment. The sandbox is a set of rules that are used when creating an applet that prevents certain functions when the applet is sent as part of a Web page. When a browser requests a Web page with applets, the applets are sent automatically and can be executed as soon as the page arrives in the browser. If the applet is allowed unlimited access to memory and operating system resources, it can do harm in the hands of someone with malicious intent. The sandbox creates an environment in which there are strict limitations on what system resources the applet can request or access. Sandboxes are used when executable code comes from unknown or untrusted sources and allow the user to run untrusted code safely.

The Java sandbox relies on a three-tiered defense. If any one of these three elements fails, the security model is completely compromised and vulnerable to attack:

  • byte code verifier -- This is one way that Java automatically checks untrusted outside code before it is allowed to run. When a Java source program is compiled, it compiles down to platform-independent Java byte code, which is verified before it can run. This helps to establish a base set of security guarantees.
  • applet class loader -- All Java objects belong to classes, and the applet class loader determines when and how an applet can add classes to a running Java environment. The applet class loader ensures that important elements of the Java run-time environment are not replaced by code that an applet tries to install.
  • security manager -- The security manager is consulted by code in the Java library whenever a dangerous operation is about to be carried out. The security manager has the option to veto the operation by generating a security exception.

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For internet.com pages about sandbox . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Breaking the Sandbox Barrier 
This article explains the Java "Sandbox" model and tells when it is necessary to cross the restrictions imposed by the model.

Gamelan.com
A resource site that provides article, tutorials and downloads for the Java development community.

Security in the Large: Is Java's Sandbox Scalable?
Even though a lot of work has been done on Java security, due to weaknesses inherent in the Java approach to building sandboxes, Java security is not suitable when applied to large-scale distributed systems.

The Base Java Security Model: The Original Applet Sandbox
A comprehensive look at Java security.

Understanding the Keys to Java Security
A detailed look at the latest security features in Java -- and the recently discovered code-signing hole.

related categories

Programming Languages

Security

related terms

applet

browser

compiler

Java

JVM


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