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I am aware of a website that I suspect is, at the very least, pulling user data from visitors and possibly performing other malicious activity on visitors. Of course, the safest course of action is to avoid this site. That said, I am a student working on a degree in information security and I want to better understand how this suspicious site works, what it's doing, etc. I plan to use a burner virtual machine to visit the site, do some analysis/testing and then destroy the VM.

How do I best configure my virtual machine (I prefer to use VirtualBox for my VMs, but I'm open to suggestions) to be as isolated from my actual local machine as possible? Are there steps I can take to keep this (allegedly) malicious site from harming the host that is running the VM?

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  • The concept you are looking for is a "sandbox". There are free online sandboxes for this sort of thing, like cuckoo.ee, joesandbox, VirusTotal, etc. Online sandboxes isolate you completely at the cost of giving up control over the analysis steps.
    – schroeder
    Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 9:23
  • @schroeder Thank you for your comment. I am aware of these kinds of sandboxes. If that's what I must do, I'm willing to accept that. I would really prefer to learn how to quarantine off my VMs. I'm hoping to draw whatever malware might be lurking there and contain it in something local that I can just burn when needed. Are you aware of ways to do something like that? The analysis steps you mention are kind of the focus for the work I'm doing.
    – Evan Leahy
    Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 13:19
  • All the duplicate questions linked above provide a lot of tips. Online sandboxes are just one type. What you want to do is to create a VM sandbox.
    – schroeder
    Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 14:10

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