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RE: VMware ESX
From: "Yahsodhan Deshpande" <yahsodhan.deshpande () nevisnetworks com>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2008 15:40:19 -0700

I agree with Robert, while using virtualization, the best thing to do is
to not forget the basic security measures you took for the physical
world, once those are in place a further step needs to be taken to
protect the environment from the holes created due to virtualization.

The traditional DMZ is always protected by FW and there is no reason to
bring in those machines into the internal network. Although VLAN seems
to solve the problem logically, you never know how the virtual network
on the ESX server would behave.

That is the reason, that new companies are emerging with products to
protect the virtual network. There are already Virtual appliances that
provide the functionality of Firewall and IDS/IPS. Vmware is also going
to release a layer (API), to encourage development of such applications.


If you plan to mix the 2 environments, then better think of adding some
internal firewall/ips so that you get same level of protection/isolation
that your physical servers used to get.

On other front, I would like to know your setup; do you have such a
powerful ESX server, such that you are able to put all your internal
servers as well as the Servers in DMZ on the same ESX? Hope you have
gone over the exercise of capacity planning, maintenance windows etc.

Yashodhan



-----Original Message-----
From: listbounce () securityfocus com [mailto:listbounce () securityfocus com]
On Behalf Of Robert Taylor
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 2:45 PM
To: Paul Heywood
Cc: security-basics () securityfocus com
Subject: Re: VMware ESX

While it sounds like a compelling thing to do sometimes, I personally 
think it's a bad idea. You need to ask youself why are the machines in 
the DMZ in the first place. I'm assuming,

1. To help keep them from being compromised. 
2. To limit access if they get compromised.

If hackers can compromise and then somehow break out of the virtual 
machine, they may be able to then connect to an internal network, or 
compromise some of the other VM's on the ESX box. 

Also, they recommend installing vmware-tools on VM's in esx, which 
uses some side-channel communication between the VM and esx server. 
Find a way to compromise that, and you could possibly control the esx 
server itself. 

Esx isn't bulletproof. It's really a stripped down and highly tweaked 
linux, but it has security flaws as well. You need to keep it patched 
along with the OS's that run on it. If there is a bug in the NIC 
drivers on esx, that has potential to compromise the whole machine.

If you are using a san backend, if the esx box is compromised, hackers 
may have access to san resources as well. 

If you are intent on using ESX, I would setup a entirely separate 
environment for dmz servers. I just think there are too many places 
where things can go bad. 

rgt


----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Heywood" <Paul.Heywood () unitypartnership com>
Date: Monday, April 21, 2008 8:23 am
Subject: VMware ESX

Hi forum,

we've got a VMware ESX group of servers running on the inside of 
our network. Our server team want to extend this to include some 
DMZ servers. How vulnerable would this leave the internal network 
? Am I correct in thinking that if the VMware cluster was hacked, 
this would give them access to the internal network


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