Hypervisor Security, Presentation by Ian Pratt
- Bromium’s co-founder Ian Pratt delivered an insightful talk about hypervisors at Black Hat USA
- In his talk, Ian examines the evolution of hypervisor design, architecture, and technology over the years
- If you have missed Ian’s session at Black Hat, you can watch his presentation on hypervisors from @pltformsec here
Micro-virtualization is a powerful concept that enables an endpoint to secure itself “by design”. It relies on the built-in features of Intel CPU to hardware isolate each untrusted user task, such as opening a browser tab, downloading a document, or clicking on a link. These hardware-isolated tasks are contained within disposable micro-VMs, which protect the OS and other tasks from malware. All changes to system state are saved in a throwaway cache, and upon the termination of the task, the micro-VM and the cache are simply discarded, along with any malware.
Hypervisors play a key role in virtualization-based security, helping reduce an attack surface and enable robust isolation and containment in a way that operating systems have proven too complex to provide.
At Black Hat, Bromium’s co-founder Ian Pratt delivered an insightful talk about hypervisors, their history, architecture, design, and growing role in enterprise security. Ian has been intimately involved with this technology – having built four hypervisors over the span of 17 years, including Xen, XenClient, Bromium vSentry, and AX.
Anyone who is familiar with the concept of virtualization should find his talk particularly interesting and perceptive – especially the parts where Ian examines the evolution of the hypervisor and discusses how his team has used technology and hardware features available at the time to advance virtualization capabilities. Ian looks back at design and architecture decisions that he and his colleagues made for each iteration of the hypervisor and assesses how those decisions have stood the test of time, through security research and adversary action.
Even if you have missed Ian’s talk at Black Hat – you are in luck. Ian delivered a similar technical presentation at the Platform Security Summit, and @pltformsec has been very generous to share the recording of Ian’s session with us.
We would like to invite you to dive deep into the elegant complexity of a hypervisor design by watching Ian’s talk: “Hypervisor Security: Lessons Learned”. If you have any follow-up questions or have a story to tell about your own experience with hypervisors, please leave a comment, or contact Bromium, and we would be happy to continue the dialog.