App sandbox


Linux is secure, not just because of its relative obscurity, but because of the various levels of isolation it employs. This is something the Linux kernel is very good at, and something that's used to the fullest extent in the various virtualization and container solutions that have made Linux so popular on the cloud. However, it's not always easy to take advantage of all this isolation technology when you're a regular user. Sometimes you need ad-hoc isolation to run something of unknown providence, and spinning up a virtual machine just to set a download is often overkill. This is where Firejail can help.

Run untrusted apps on your desktop without resorting to a virtual machine or Qemu.

Firejail is a little like a firewall to protect your operating system from your applications, using the power of SUID, Linux namespaces, and seccomp to limit an application's view of your wider system. It's like a service only having access to port 22 on a server; only with Firejail, you can isolate anything – including servers themselves. It works as a kind of sandbox and is run from the command line with the name of the command as its argument. There's a GUI too, called Firetools, which acts as a simple panel launcher, so you can quickly run your most common applications without having to enter the command line. It even includes its own process manager and configuration tool, so you can easily add applications and commands and set which security profile they're going to use. Another excellent feature, currently in development, is Firetunnel, which is a VPN to enable applications to communicate with one another without escaping their encapsulated environments. All of this makes Firejail a great solution for those times you need to run untrusted software on a machine you don't want sullied with binaries of unknown origin.

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