Security Design: Checklist for Securing VMs and Containers - Security News (2023)

Security Design: Checklist for Securing VMs and Containers - Security News (1)virtualization andCloudA gift for developers and app builders. Virtual infrastructure provides companies and developers with a cost-effective, dynamic and agile way to deliver products and services or deploy their own applications. Just like the public cloud promises to be$178 billionThis year, the market has seen a clear shift in application delivery towards automation and scalability.

But security lags behind and is often overlooked as companies and developers try to move faster to meet deadlines and requirements. For example, a survey conducted in 2017 by the SANS Institute,ReportIn the last two years, 15 percent of organizations suffered a data breach due to insecure applications, and as many as 10 percent said they did not perform security testing on mission-critical applications.

Not surprisingly, DevOps is gaining ground, both as a software engineering culture and as a toolkit that combines software development and information technology (IT) operations to enable agile development and deployment. KnuthestimateBy next year, 70 percent of enterprise DevOps initiatives will embed and automate security in the applications they use, build, or deploy.

[related:Application security for developers]

Securing the virtual environment is no different from securing the application itself. Here are some considerations and best practices that developers, IT operations professionals, and system administrators should consider when securing the infrastructure that powers their applications.

Security Design: Checklist for Securing VMs and Containers - Security News (2)Security Design: Checklist for Securing VMs and Containers - Security News (3)

Prevent security breaches in containers and virtual machines

Update containers and virtual machines

Due to the different scope and requirements of workloads, organizations use virtualization technologies according to individual needs. For example, virtual machines (VMs) are best for developers and businesses looking for the flexibility to run multiple applications, while containers are best for developers and businesses that need scalable applications.

Containers and VMs allow you to run applications multiple times or isolate them on a single platform, but they differ in how they do so. Containers virtualize the operating system (OS) to run multiple workloads on a single OS instance, while virtual machines virtualize hardware to run OS instances.

(Video) The Container Security Checklist

Therefore, any instance of an application running in containers and virtual machines is a potential attack vector if it is vulnerable or misconfigured. For example, instances that still have unneeded ports configured in containers or virtual machines can be exploited to allow hackers to gain access to application servers.

Container images should also be checked for vulnerabilities. They are constantly added to the repository, exchanged and modified (in the case of open source) - activities that increase the risk of security breaches. SANS InstitutelistAudit of Docker-based containers is a good starting point for evaluating containerized applications and host operating systems.

[related:What is serverless computing and what it means for DevSecOps]

Protect applications with the protection hypervisor

The hypervisor manages how guest operating systems access resources such as the central processing unit (CPU), memory, network, and storage. Shares resources to prevent instances from hacking each other's resources. The hypervisor is the underlying infrastructure behind the applications running on the virtual machine, which makes its security critical. National Institute of Standards and Technology DetailssuggestionProtection Manager:

  • Disable unused and unnecessary hardware or virtual services (for example, clipboard and file sharing) to reduce the attack surface.
  • Keep an eye on the hypervisor for unusual activity.
  • Traffic between VMs is actively monitored; their visibility must be explicitly enabled.
  • Track instances and limit the creation of virtual machines and virtual servers to prevent the proliferation of virtualization where running too many instances leads to inefficient management of physical and software resources.
  • Use secure and encrypted communication protocols such as Secure Sockets Layer for mitigationbrokerOr protect data while migrating or storing VM images.
  • Verify and ensure the integrity of VM images stored on a server or library.

[Information Security Guidelines:Limit network injection]

Identify vulnerabilities in containers

Images are container blueprints that are used by containers to start or run applications. A vulnerable image makes the container vulnerable to malware or hacking, so the application itself is also vulnerable to malware or hacking. Identifying security vulnerabilities (such as unsafe code) before launch and correcting them properly before scheduling an image in an orchestration environment will greatly save time and effort in reworking builds and reduce build overhead and downtime. Application Life Cycle:

  • Make sure container images are signed, verified, and sourced from trusted registries; when scanning images, consider also scanning logs as logs may be compromised and images may be compromised.
  • Protect the Demon; restrict access to it when it is exposed on the network or use encrypted communication protocols.
  • The principle of least privilege applies; unlike a hypervisor that acts as a central point of administration, any user, service or application with root access to the container can log into other containers that share the kernel.
  • isolate resources; configure control groups and namespaces accordingly, i.e. what resources and how much the container can use.
  • Security is built in to further reduce the need for additional builds; for example, Docker has its owndocumentUseful as a reference regarding the safety features built into your engine.

[Cloud Native Security for DevOps: cloud, clusters, containers, code]

security design

expertprovideThis year, intelligent applications based on enterprise resource planning (i-ERP), usually hosted on cloud platforms and designed to manage and automate business processes, will reach the benchmark of 15%Global 2000Companies will use these technologies to improve their bottom line and enhance customer experience. In fact, virtualization and the cloud are increasingly changing the way personal and mission-critical data is handled and processed.

But it's not just about securing containers and virtual machines. Whether your organization's workloads are physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructure (or any combination of the two), maintaining andProtect themIt can be scary. According to the DevOps culture, simplicity is the name of the game. Whether you use VMs, containers (or both) to test, run, and deploy your apps, your security shouldn't be an obstacle.included in securityIn the infrastructure where applications run, it not only helps prevent threats, but also reduces the organization's business risk.


(Video) What is Container Security? | AppSec 101

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Published onsecurity technology,Cloud Computing,Virtualization,DevOps

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How can you secure a virtual machine? ›

  1. Remove Unnecessary Hardware Devices.
  2. Disable Unused Display Features.
  3. Disable Unexposed Features.
  4. Disable VMware Shared Folders Sharing Host Files to the Virtual Machine.
  5. Disable Copy and Paste Operations Between Guest Operating System and Remote Console.
  6. Limiting Exposure of Sensitive Data Copied to the Clipboard.
Jan 13, 2021

What are the security challenges in VMs? ›

8 Virtualization Security Issues and Risks
  • VM Sprawl. ...
  • Malware & Ransomware Attacks. ...
  • Network Configuration. ...
  • Access Controls. ...
  • Security of Offline Virtual Machines. ...
  • Workloads with Different Trust Levels. ...
  • Hypervisor Security Controls. ...
  • Cloud Service Provider APIs.
Dec 15, 2021

Are VMs more secure than containers? ›

Traditional applications are not properly isolated from each other within a VM, giving scope for a malicious program to penetrate and control others. Whereas, containers run isolated from each other, with each of them possessing its own level of security and remaining unharmed.

What is container security? ›

Container Security is a critical part of a comprehensive security assessment. It is the practice of protecting containerized applications from potential risk using a combination of security tools and policies.

Which security measures can help prevent VM escape? ›

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.

What can be done to secure virtualized operating systems? ›

5 Ways to Improve Virtualization Security
  • Upgrade host firmware and BIOS to latest version.
  • Limit access to hypervisor hosts.
  • Use Virtualization-Based security.
  • Encrypt virtual hard disks.
  • Patch your guest operating systems running inside virtual machines.
Jul 12, 2019

What are the 3 virtual security measures? ›

Standard measures used to achieve virtual security include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption.

What are the three 3 biggest challenges you face when configuring a VM? ›

It's essential to understand the difficulties with virtualization and how to overcome them.
  • VM Sprawl. Challenge: Virtualization sprawl happens when it's impossible to effectively control and manage all virtual machines (VMs) connected to a network. ...
  • Application Performance. ...
  • Bottlenecks. ...
  • Licensing Compliance.
Oct 26, 2021

Which three important security considerations are associated with virtualization? ›

Top virtualization security issues
  • External attacks. ...
  • Keeping snapshots on VMs. ...
  • Sharing files between VM and host, or copy-pasting between host and remote console. ...
  • VM sprawl. ...
  • Viruses, ransomware and other malware. ...
  • Use named users and least privilege. ...
  • Minimize the number of open ESXi firewall ports.
Jan 9, 2020

How do I secure multiple VMs? ›

  1. General Virtual Machine Protection.
  2. Use Templates to Deploy Virtual Machines.
  3. Minimize Use of the Virtual Machine Console.
  4. Prevent Virtual Machines from Taking Over Resources.
  5. Disable Unnecessary Functions Inside Virtual Machines. Remove Unnecessary Hardware Devices. Remove Unnecessary Hardware Devices.
Jan 14, 2021

Which of the following is a container security best practice? ›

7 Best Practices for Container Security
  • Secure Your Images. ...
  • Manage Secrets Securely. ...
  • Restrict Container Privileges at Runtime. ...
  • Identify and Remediate Security Misconfigurations. ...
  • Automate Vulnerability Scanning and Management. ...
  • Set Up Real-Time Logging, Monitoring and Alerting. ...
  • Adopt “Shift Left” Security.
Nov 1, 2022

Is Docker as secure as a VM? ›

Docker vs VM: Data Security

A virtual machine has an edge over the Docker container system concerning client-server-based data security. This is because a virtual machine does not share an operating system, which makes the virtual machine very strong in terms of being isolated from threats.

What are the 4 C of container security? ›

The 4C's of Cloud Native security are Cloud, Clusters, Containers, and Code. Note: This layered approach augments the defense in depth computing approach to security, which is widely regarded as a best practice for securing software systems.

Which tool is used for container security? ›

Falco. Falco is a threat detection engine for Kubernetes. It is also an open-source project and a runtime security tool used to identify anomalous behavior in containers and hosts running on Kubernetes. It isolates any unusual activity in your application and tells you of the threats at runtime.

How do you make a container secure? ›

Container Security in Six Steps
  1. Secure the container host. Containers should be hosted in a container-focused OS. ...
  2. Secure the networking environment. ...
  3. Secure your management stack. ...
  4. Build on a secure foundation. ...
  5. Secure your build pipeline. ...
  6. Secure your application.
Sep 5, 2019

What is the strongest security feature of virtualization? ›

Virtual Machine (VM) Isolation: Running several virtual machines on a single server allows for a high level of isolation. If security is compromised within one server, this separation provides protection for the other virtual servers.

What are the types of security in virtualization? ›

There are many features and types of virtualized security, encompassing network security, application security, and cloud security. Some virtualized security technologies are essentially updated, virtualized versions of traditional security technology (such as next-generation firewalls).

Which of the following are best practices when protecting your VMs? ›

Manage your VM security posture
  • Apply OS security settings with recommended configuration rules.
  • Identify and download system security and critical updates that might be missing.
  • Deploy recommendations for endpoint antimalware protection.
  • Validate disk encryption.
  • Assess and remediate vulnerabilities.
  • Detect threats.
Nov 15, 2022

How to configure virtualization-based security? ›

Enable virtualization-based security: Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\DeviceGuard . Add a new DWORD value named EnableVirtualizationBasedSecurity. Set the value of this registry setting to 1 to enable virtualization-based security and set it to 0 to disable it.

What is required for virtualization-based security? ›

Virtualization-based security (VBS) requires the Windows hypervisor, which is only supported on 64-bit IA processors with virtualization extensions, including Intel VT-X and AMD-v.

Can you password protect a virtual machine? ›

Select a virtual machine in the Virtual Machine Library window and click Settings. Under Other in the Settings window, click Encryption. Choose appropriate encryption option and set the encryption password. The password must be eight characters or longer.

What does securing a virtual machine mean? ›

Virtualized security, or security virtualization, refers to security solutions that are software-based and designed to work within a virtualized IT environment. This differs from traditional, hardware-based network security, which is static and runs on devices such as traditional firewalls, routers, and switches.

Can someone access my virtual machine? ›

Is Your VM Safe From Hackers? It's certainly possible for a virtual machine to become compromised, especially if you access it on a mobile device in a place with public Wi-Fi. Just like all devices going on a public Wi-Fi system, hackers could infiltrate your OS if not taking proper security measures.

How do I secure my virtual machine in Windows 10? ›

Virtual Secure Mode (VSM) is a set of hypervisor capabilities and enlightenments offered to host and guest partitions which enables the creation and management of new security boundaries within operating system software.

Should you encrypt virtual machines? ›

Data security of virtual machines is very important for enterprises. An encrypted virtual machine protects the sensitive data and enhances business security.

Do virtual machines need antivirus? ›

The answer is yes, as virtual machines are just as vulnerable to viruses and malware as physical machines. Virtual machines are a great way to save money and resources, but they can also be a target for malicious software. To protect your virtual machine, you should install antivirus software and keep it up to date.

What is VM theft? ›

Physical Theft of Virtual Machines and Virtual Disks

The contents of the virtual disk for each VM are usually stored as a file, which can be run by hypervisors on other machines. Therefore attackers could copy the virtual disk and thereby gain unrestricted access to the digital contents of the VM.

How do we secure virtual servers in a cloud? ›

Regardless of how you're using a virtual server, you'll want to ensure that it's safe from hackers.
  1. Stay Up-to-Date. ...
  2. Buy Malware Protection. ...
  3. Create Firewalls for Virtual Servers. ...
  4. Limit Access and Unnecessary Apps. ...
  5. Monitor Speed and Bandwidth.
May 13, 2016

Can your IP be tracked through a virtual machine? ›

Using a virtual machine to browse the Internet doesn't mask your IP address or automatically shield you from threats. And although your VM and host computer are technically separate, some things could still be shared between the two if you're not careful.

Do virtual machines have their own IP? ›

VM interfaces are assigned IP addresses from the subnet that they are connected to. Each VM interface has one primary internal IPv4 address, which is assigned from the subnet's primary IPv4 range. If the subnet has an internal IPv6 range, the VM interface can optionally be configured with an internal IPv6 address.

Do virtual machines share IP addresses? ›

A VM has one primary IP address per network adapter. The primary IP address is assigned to the VM by the automatic or manual network it's attached to. Use the primary IP to access the VM from other machines connected to the same network.

Does Windows 10 have virtualization based security? ›

Virtualization-based security is available for Windows 10, version 1903 (OS build 18362.383) on supported ARM devices that are running on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 850 platform and later versions.

How do I make my VM safe for malware? ›

  1. Step 1: Install Virtualization Software. Install virtualization software that you feel comfortable configuring and troubleshooting. ...
  2. Step 2: Get a Windows Virtual Machine. ...
  3. Step 3: Update the VM and Install Malware Analysis Tools. ...
  4. Step 4: Isolate the Analysis VM and Disable Windows Defender AV. ...
  5. Step 5: Analyze Some Malware.
Mar 4, 2019

What are the hardware security and network requirements needed to execute virtual machines? ›

Minimum hardware requirements
  • RAM: 16 GB.
  • Disk space: 400 GB.
  • CPU cores: 6.
  • Processor speed: 2.3 GHz or more. Comparable to an Intel Xeon E-2276G processor, or to an AMD Opteron 1352 processor.


1. 2022-11-16: Cloud-native Security and Policy: A Primer (Kwisnek)
(Incose Chesapeake)
2. 6 Tips to Simply Build Secure and Compliant Containers
(Trend Micro)
3. Container Security: It's All About the Supply Chain
(SAP Developers)
4. Security-as-Code to Accelerate DevSecOps, a Practical Guide to Get Started
(RSA Conference)
5. Karl Ots - Lessons learned from enterprise cloud security programs
(Finland Azure User Group)
6. The state of container security - DevConf.CZ 2020


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