Sunday, May 13

More on Virtual Machine Security

A colleague of mine shared this article about vm security. Pretty good read. Tavis Ormandy is the author, with support from Google.

Read the pdf here.

I have listed the recommendations, in full, below.

The following are some simple recommendations for safely deploying virtualization in production environments:
  • Treat Virtual Machines like services that can be compromised; use chroot, systrace, acls, least privileged users, etc.
  • Disable emulated hardware you don’t need, and external services you don’t use (DHCP daemons, etc.) to reduce the attack surface exposed to hostile users.
  • Xen is worth watching in future; separating domains should limit the impact of a compromise.
  • Maintain the integrity of guest operating systems, protect the kernel using standard procedures of disabling modules, /dev/mem, /dev/port, etc.
  • Take advantage of the securelevels features available on BSD systems.
  • Keep guest software up-to-date with published vulnerabilities.
  • If an attacker cannot elevate their privileges within the guest, the likelihood of compromising the VMM is significantly reduced.
  • Keep Virtual Machine software updated to ensure all known vulnerabilities have been corrected.
  • Avoid guests that do not operate in protected mode, and make use of any security features offered, avoid running untrusted code with root-equivalent privileges within the guest.

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