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.

Risk

7/27/2007
07:24 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Virtualization's New Benchmark

Consortium gives recommendations for securing emerging virtualized technology

If you're not sure how best to configure your virtual machines for security, sit tight. The nonprofit Center for Internet Security (CIS) is about to release a security benchmark that gives you the lowdown on how to lock down your virtualized systems.

Virtualization may be convenient, efficient, and eco-friendly, but it's also a big fat security risk if you don't configure it properly. There's no guarantee your security policies will carry over to those tens of thousands of virtual servers affiliated with your thousands of physical machines. The hypervisor layer, for instance, creates a new security attack vector, and tracking moves, changes, and patching of VM machines can get out of control. (See VMs Create Potential Risks.)

Chris Farrow, director of the center for policy and compliance for Configuresoft, says the creation of a security benchmark for virtual machines began last year. Some large financial firms were retooling their data centers with virtualization, and they urged CIS to consider addressing virtual machine security as well.

"We found that no one was building a best-practices [model] for securing the virtual infrastructure," says Farrow, who works with the CIS, which is made up of vendors, universities, consultants, government agencies, and enterprises. "That alarmed us. It was like VOIP, a technology so hot that there are great big massive rollouts before you can figure out the risk and how secure it is."

Configuresoft is among the organizations working on the security benchmark, which will include benchmarks for specific virtualization software, including VMware's ESX Server, Microsoft's Virtual Server, and Xen Virtual Machine. CIS, which has benchmarks for everything from Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 to wireless LANs, Cisco IOS routers, and Apache Web Server, creates consensus-built benchmarks that can be used by enterprises, federal agencies, and the vendors themselves, to configure products securely.

The virtualization benchmark covers virtual machine monitoring; hypervisor security; network parameters; port permissions; system access, authentication, and authorization; and kernel-tuning.

"CIS has traditionally been very prescriptive in its benchmarks -- set this setting at this, to this parameter, and use this configuration file," Farrow says.

To prevent malicious activity from a "guest" virtual operating system, for instance, the benchmark recommends disabling the copy-and-paste operations between the guest OS and the remote console, says Joel Kirch, information assurance programs manager for WBB Consulting and a member of the CIS team working on the virtualization benchmark.

The CIS' overview document for the virtualization benchmark will be released for public review in the next few weeks. The individual vendor benchmarks will follow, according to Configuresoft's Farrow.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Configuresoft Inc.
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
    Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
    Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
    Tor Weaponized to Steal Bitcoin
    Dark Reading Staff 10/18/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
    This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
    Flash Poll
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    2019 Online Malware and Threats
    As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-18218
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    cdf_read_property_info in cdf.c in file through 5.37 does not restrict the number of CDF_VECTOR elements, which allows a heap-based buffer overflow (4-byte out-of-bounds write).
    CVE-2019-18217
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    ProFTPD before 1.3.6b and 1.3.7rc before 1.3.7rc2 allows remote unauthenticated denial-of-service due to incorrect handling of overly long commands because main.c in a child process enters an infinite loop.
    CVE-2019-16862
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    Reflected XSS in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 allows a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of a user's session via the pid parameter.
    CVE-2019-17409
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    Reflected XSS exists in interface/forms/eye_mag/view.php in OpenEMR 5.x before 5.0.2.1 ia the id parameter.
    CVE-2019-10715
    PUBLISHED: 2019-10-21
    There is Stored XSS in Verodin Director before 3.5.4.0 via input fields of certain tooltips, and on the Tags, Sequences, and Actors pages.