Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

12/8/2008
12:35 PM
John H. Sawyer
John H. Sawyer
Commentary
50%
50%

Crossing The Streams -- Virtually

Everywhere I go, virtualization is being used. No matter the size of the organization, virtualization has taken off with, what appears to be, very little concern about security. As security professionals, we know not to mix security domains across the same physical machines or cluster. Why? The answer is simple. A vulnerability could exist in the virtualization product that would allow an attacker to exploit a less secure, or lower value, guest VM allowing them to run arbitrary code on the host

Everywhere I go, virtualization is being used. No matter the size of the organization, virtualization has taken off with, what appears to be, very little concern about security. As security professionals, we know not to mix security domains across the same physical machines or cluster. Why? The answer is simple. A vulnerability could exist in the virtualization product that would allow an attacker to exploit a less secure, or lower value, guest VM allowing them to run arbitrary code on the host server. Far-fetched? Absolutely not!Take a look at the recent vulnerabilities in both Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX Server. XenServer suffered a vulnerability that allowed a local attacker to place code on a guest VM's file system, leading to execution of arbitrary code in the master domain (or host server). VMware patched numerous vulnerabilities that allowed both local and remote attackers to bypass security restrictions, cause denial-of-services conditions, and escalate privileges.

Does that make you feel warm and fuzzy about the safety of your data on the virtual infrastructure in your company? Yeah, I didn't think so. During Risky Business Podcast #89, Patrick Gray, Adam Pointon, and Neal Wise were discussing the XenServer vulnerability and brought up an idea I hadn't thought of before. It's essentially the idea of pivoting and exploiting other hosts like a typical pentest, but the variation is in taking advantage of the ability to migrate a VM from one physical server to another physical server.

From a pen-testing standpoint, this is a wicked idea. Imagine if you were able to exploit a lower value VM and gain control of the physical host server. If you could then migrate the lower value VM to a physical server that has a higher value or security domain, you could then re-exploit that lower value VM to gain control of the higher security domain host.

With appropriate separation and stop-gap measures, this attack is moot, but something I took away from the podcast is that although we infosec pros know better, it's not happening out in the real world. I think it was Neal who said he's seeing the mix of security domains occurring in the field with clients he's working with. Ouch!

If you've not read the "The Four Horsemen Of the Virtualization Security Apocalypse" from Chris Hoff, put it on your to do list. It'll open your eyes to some things that you probably haven't considered regarding the impact of virtualization in your environment.

John H. Sawyer is a Senior Security Engineer on the IT Security Team at the University of Florida. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent the views and opinions of the UF IT Security Team or the University of Florida. When John's not fighting flaming, malware-infested machines or performing autopsies on blitzed boxes, he can usually be found hanging with his family, bouncing a baby on one knee and balancing a laptop on the other. Special to Dark Reading.

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/14/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-14499
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper access control vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to obtain all user accounts credentials.
CVE-2020-14501
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper authentication for critical function (CWE-306) issue. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to obtain the information of the user table, including the administrator credentials in plain text. An attacker may also ...
CVE-2020-14503
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper input validation vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2020-14497
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, contains multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities that are vulnerable to the use of an attacker-controlled string in the construction of SQL queries. An attacker could extract user credentials, read or modify information, and remotely execute code.
CVE-2020-14505
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper neutralization of special elements used in a command (“command injection�) vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to send a HTTP GET or POST request that create...