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SECURITY: Security for Virtualised Environments


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In a recent survey conducted by CIO magazine, the security of virtual servers and virtualised infrastructures rank near the top of the list of security concerns for IT decision makers. Neil MacDonald, security and infrastructure analyst at Gartner, told the publication that this is not because virtual servers are any less secure than any other server, but rather the potential for loss of control because IT personnel are often not able to see the risks as they crop up.

Securing virtualised infrastructures

However, Bitdefender has solved the 'context versus isolation' dilemma of security in a virtualised environment with its Hypervisor-based Memory Introspection technology. According to Lutz Blaeser, MD of Intact Software Distribution, local distributor of Bitdefender, the ability to provide complete insight into virtualised endpoints with zero footprint within the endpoints through inspection at the hypervisor level was considered impossible, until now.

"Bitdefender's advanced research has allowed the company to come up with a new standard for securing virtualised infrastructures. Traditionally, an operating system kernel controls hardware access, and in a virtualised environment, the hardware access control is done through the interaction with the underlying hypervisors. Until now, the kernel was the central focus for preventing the attacks and malware targeting endpoints, but with Bitdefender's technology, the virtualised endpoints are secured from the virtualised infrastructure," he says.

Leveraging hypervisor privileges

According to the company, Bitdefender Hypervisor-based Memory Introspection uses a higher level of privilege by leveraging hypervisor privileges (ring-minus-one) to detect and defeat attacks and previously installed malware. Also avoiding the assumption of a clean state of the protected infrastructure, remediation techniques take advantage of a unique method of injecting Bitdefender Clean-up Tools into a running virtual endpoint.

"This solution protects both Windows and Linux endpoints, from below guest operating systems, overcoming privilege paradoxes between security and malicious activities. Traditional security products have only been able to protect the administrator level of privilege as advanced persistent threats (APTs), which resulted in effectively a stand-off between cybercriminals seeking to gain entry and the protections in place. Now, by providing protection to the layer below operating systems, protection is ensured," Blaeser explains.

He adds that as with any other area of the IT infrastructure, security should be one of the first considerations in a virtualised environment. "Virtual machines are equally at risk of unauthorised access and malware as non-virtualised ones. IT departments can rest easy that these are secured against potential breeches."

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