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2/26/2008
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Terry Sweeney
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An Ounce Of Virtual Prevention

Security researchers found/punched a new hole in one of VMware's products this week, and from some quarters, it's being written about as if virtual machinery had never been a target for malicious code before. Those in the data center know differently.

Security researchers found/punched a new hole in one of VMware's products this week, and from some quarters, it's being written about as if virtual machinery had never been a target for malicious code before. Those in the data center know differently.In fact, more than two years ago, VMware got hit with a vulnerability that cut clear across its major product lines, affecting its Workstation, GSX Server, ACE, and VMware Player products. The vendor deemed that software flaw "very serious." There have been other vulnerabilities since then.

This latest bug is in Windows host systems that run VMware Workstation, Player, and ACE software and should be patched in a couple weeks, according to this account. Otherwise, VMware was off in Cannes, unveiling an embedded hypervisor with HP.

Ivan Arce, CTO of Arce Security, which discovered the flaw, said there's a tendency to think that, just because virtualization provides isolation from the underlying OS, users are somehow less vulnerable to software security issues. Hard to believe any user might be lulled into that false sense of security, but many of us have learned the hard way how powerful and insidious denial can be.

Virtualization users looking for security options might start with the hundreds of options available here. Resellers and similarly positioned customers will have plenty of ideas, too.

Given the popularity of server virtualization and VMware's dominance of the market, there can only be more of these kinds of software vulnerabilities ahead.

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