Buyer Beware with Virtualization Technology
- By GCN.com Staff
- September 09, 2008
As hackers continue to focus their attention on virtualized environments, those
looking to adopt virtualization technologies should proceed with caution, according
to report from InfoWorld
According to the InfoWorld
report, virtualization market leader VMware warned of at least 16 vulnerabilities
last week concerning VMware ACE, VMware Server, VMware ESX, VMware Workstation
and VMware Player.
The vulnerabilities could allow hackers to execute arbitrary code, cause a
denial-of-service condition, access the system with elevated privileges or obtain
sensitive information, InfoWorld added.
Virtualization offers the ability to partition different working environments
in the same computer. Theoretically, it could provide a way for users to access
networks of different security levels -- such as a private internal network
and a public network -- from the same computer. This approach could save the
cost of buying hardware, one for each security level being accessed on the desktop.
Many intelligence and defense agencies, for instance, want to offer their workers
the ability to switch between the Secret IP Router Network (SIPRNet) to the
Unclassified but Sensitive IP Router Network (NIPRNet) from a single box. And
on a more general level, many agencies are looking at ways to consolidate internal
and external servers, and set up virtual switches in between them.
But virtualization is not without risk. Increasingly in the past year, security
issues have beset
VMware as well as Xen, the two largest operating system virtualization applications.
These programs are no less secure than other enterprise applications -- in fact,
security researchers have applauded the code underlying the applications --
but there is an inevitable lag time between when a new application hits the
enterprise and when it gets incorporated into the security profile of large