There have been several interesting posts in the blogosphere about virtualization security and how to measure it. Specifically, the discussions are really about the size of the hypervisor footprint or about the size of patches. But hypervisor footprints from a security perspective are neither of these. The concern when dealing with hypervisor security is about Risk not about the size of the hypervisor or the size of a patch it is purely about the Risks associated with the hypervisor in terms if confidentiality, availability, and integrity.
There is quite a bit of documentation on bare metal or Type 1 hypervisors, including my own book, VMware vSphereTM and Virtual Infrastructure Security: Securing the Virtual Environment, but there is not much material on the proper security of hosted environments, or Type 2 hypervisors, such as Microsoft Virtual Server, VMware Workstation, Fusion, Player, or Server as well as Qemu, Virtuozzo, or OpenVZ.
VMware vSphere has started its journey to Common Criteria certification,
The biggest question I ask myself when I see VMsafe appliances is: will it replace my current virtual firewall setup? Replace my Anti-virus? or Both? I am seeing a trend that gives me pause. That is a VMsafe appliance being more than one thing. For example, Trend Micro is an Anti-Virus company that bought Third Brigade (a firewall company) and are now in the mix of merging the two technologies into one. What has happened to one tool that does one thing and does that one thing very well?
Since I last blogged ThinApp I have been thinking about the security aspects of ThinApp and came up with a set of questions to which I searched for some answers. In essence could ThinApp be used to subvert existing system security? What about other similar technologies like Microsoft App-V.
The use of VMware VMsafe enabled third party products introduces third party fastpath drivers into your hypervisor. What these drivers ultimately do is interact with the VMsafe fastpath API, but is that ALL they do? That is why we need some level of certification for VMsafe fast path drivers. We need to KNOW that they do not do anything wrong, bad, or unfortunate.