More from VMWorld on Virtualization Security

BeyondTrust, September 28th, 2010

At VMWorld we had the pleasure of meeting with Jon Brodkin from Network World, who published what might be the best-written explanation of how IT administrators can take advantage of the hypervisor yet.

Naturally, as Jon absorbed what our very own Principal Systems Engineer Jordan Bean showed him in a live demonstration and walked it over to VMWare’s booth, his line of questioning on ESX security may have put some of our virtualization partners on the defensive.

What we should add, is that the ability for IT administrators to use the hypervisor to cover their tracks, hide their activities and ultimately get away with data theft is NOT a VMWare vulnerability – it’s a virtualization vulnerability.

With administrative access and a few changes to the process, we could steal data undetected from any virtual server. This isn’t a shortcoming in their software, but a new danger for root-level access.

In many cases measures are already in place to protect the company from abuse of root-level access on physical servers, but awareness and understanding of how that translates onto their virtual counterparts is low. The answer to this vulnerability is a Privilege Identity Management solution.

You saw in our last post that most VMWorld attendees have virtualized at least some of their mission-critical servers and most believe their coworker could steal data from those servers if motivated. Applying ‘least privilege’ to mitigate risk from this kind of privileged access has always been our domain – virtual or not.VMWorld 2010