Browse Definitions :
Definition

virtual machine escape

Virtual machine escape is an exploit in which the attacker runs code on a VM that allows an operating system running within it to break out and interact directly with the hypervisor.

Such an exploit could give the attacker access to the host operating system and all other virtual machines (VMs) running on that host. Although there have been no incidents reported in the wild, VM escape is considered to be the most serious threat to virtual machine security.

Virtual machines are designed to run in self-contained, isolated environments in the host. Each VM should be, in effect, a separate system, isolated from the host operating system and any other VMs running on the same machine. The hypervisor is an intermediary between the host operating system and virtual machines. It controls the host processor and allocates resources as required to each guest operating system. 

Here's Ed Skoudis' explanation of the risk:

"If the attacker can compromise the virtual machines, they will likely have control of all of the guests, since the guests are merely subsets of the program itself. Also, most virtual machines run with very high privileges on the host because a virtual machine needs comprehensive access to the host's hardware so it can then map the real hardware into virtualized hardware for the guests. Thus, compromising the virtual machine means not only that the guests are goners, but the host is also likely lost."

To minimize vulnerability to VM escape, Skoudis recommends that you:

  • Keep virtual machine software patched.
  • Install only the resource-sharing features that you really need.
  • Keep software installations to a minimum because each program brings its own vulnerabilities.
This was last updated in April 2016

Continue Reading About virtual machine escape

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance framework

    A compliance framework is a structured set of guidelines that details an organization's processes for maintaining accordance with...

SearchSecurity

  • DNS over HTTPS (DoH)

    DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a relatively new protocol that encrypts domain name system traffic by passing DNS queries through a ...

  • integrated risk management (IRM)

    Integrated risk management (IRM) is an approach to risk management that uses a set of practices and processes to improve an ...

  • MITRE ATT&CK framework

    The MITRE ATT&CK (pronounced 'miter attack') framework is a free, globally accessible service that provides comprehensive and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • telemedicine (telehealth)

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

  • Project Nightingale

    Project Nightingale is a controversial partnership between Google and Ascension, the second largest health system in the United ...

  • medical practice management (MPM) software

    Medical practice management (MPM) software is a collection of computerized services used by healthcare professionals and ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification and is used in internally mounted ...

  • kilobyte (KB or Kbyte)

    A kilobyte (KB or Kbyte) is a unit of measurement for computer memory or data storage used by mathematics and computer science ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an operating system (OS) that uses hardware and software to allow a computer ...

Close