How to Overcome Virtualization Security Risks

Bineesh Mathew | March 4, 2022 | 121 views

Virtualization Security Risks
Virtualization has gained popularity in recent years because of its ability to improve efficiency and scalability at lower costs. Server virtualization is used by over 90% of businesses, and many companies are looking into other virtualization alternatives, such as application, desktop, network, and storage virtualization.

With the increasing popularity of virtualization, security has become one of the most significant concerns. As a result, there is a need to pay close attention to virtualization security risks. When compared to traditional server infrastructure, virtualization provides certain obvious security advantages. Virtual machines (VMs) have a lot of benefits, including increased availability, isolation from the operating systems and actual hardware they run on, and enhanced security measures that come standard with most virtualization solutions.

Because so many firms use this technology, it's an attractive target for hackers and other cybercriminals. However, virtualization is no more or less of a security risk than any other component of your IT infrastructure. Its use necessitates a greater understanding of the problems that IT managers problems.

Virtualization security is an essential component of a larger security strategy. Virtualization security must be applied to all physical, virtual, and cloud layers in today's settings, where more than 80% of them are virtualized.

“Virtualization allows organizations to cut costs, improve efficiency and increase essential infrastructure agility, but it also brings complexities – including scale and management concerns that impact the surrounding IT infrastructure. We support HP’s cloud initiative of delivering highly scalable and adaptable global-class services to ensure optimized application delivery to users and continue to collaborate with HP to help enterprises maximize the value of their virtualization investments.”

- Karl Triebes, senior vice president, Development, and chief technology officer, HP

Read on to know more about the risks of virtualization and how to mitigate them efficiently.

Top Virtualization Security Risks

Virtualization security risks are known to affect businesses adversely. So, it is better to be aware of these potential risks and find ways to mitigate them. Some of the top virtualization security issues can be:

• Keeping snapshots on VMs
• External attacks
• Network configuration
• File sharing between VM and host
• Offline virtual machine security
• Viruses, ransomware, and other malware
• VM sprawl

Ways to Mitigate Virtualization Security Risks

Now that we've covered the potential risks associated with virtualization, let’s look at reducing these risks. Here are some things you may do to lessen the effects of security issues mentioned above:


Protect Your Data Centre by Securing Management Interface

Virtualization systems may improve data center efficiency and cost-effectiveness, but they also add complexity with a different administration interface to protect. As a result, agencies must ensure that their management interface is safe. Even if an attacker gains administrative access to a system, they cannot take over a large part of the data center and alter hardware resources.

The best defense is to restrict access to a minimum. In addition to needing a strong multifactor authentication, cybersecurity teams should guarantee that the interface is only available from a virtual local area network devoted to that purpose. For administrators to get access, they first need to connect to the dedicated VLAN by VPN or jump box. This significantly reduces the risk of a breach because it prevents attackers from accidentally coming across the interface during routine network scans.

Find Out Warning Signs, Carefully Monitoring Networks

Even the most meticulously constructed security safeguards can fail at times. Therefore, monitoring networks and systems for signs of compromise is one of the most critical tasks for agency cybersecurity teams. This necessitates a robust set of technologies and processes, such as intrusion detection and prevention systems, thorough logging and security data, and event management systems that correlate collected data. While developing monitoring techniques, another thing to keep in mind is to pay extra attention to monitoring virtualization platforms for signs of compromise, like unusual inter-VM network activity or administrative connections from unknown sources.


Protect Your Environment with Strong Virtualization Security Tools

Companies can deploy robust virtualization security tools to protect businesses from virtualization security risks. This will help safeguard against any potential threats and breaches. Some of the practical tools can be:
  • Antivirus and anti-malware software
  • Change auditing software
  • Backup and replication software


Have a Well-Designed Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan and Strong Backup

Whether you experience a cyberattack or a hurricane bringing down your production data center, a proper disaster recovery plan and backup are critical to guaranteeing business continuity. In addition, having a disaster recovery site in a remote data center or the cloud can help reduce the virtualization issues of extended downtime. You can consider three steps as you put together your disaster recovery plan:
  • Back up VMs and physical servers
  • Use the 3-2-1 backup rule
  • Consider replication

Summing Up

Modern businesses must protect their virtual environments from various virtualization security attacks. Keeping all software up to date, utilizing antivirus software, following configuration best practices, and providing frequent user training are essential tactics. However, some threats will get through even the finest defenses, so it's critical to invest in virtualization security solutions that can track changes and logons to help you maintain security at all levels, all the time.


Frequently Asked Questions


Does virtualization improve security?

Virtualization increases physical security by lowering physical hardware elements. In a virtualized environment, less hardware means fewer data centers. In addition, server virtualization allows servers to revert to their default state in an incursion.


What are the basics of virtualization security?

The basics of virtualization security are:
  • Secure all the parts of the infrastructure
  • Reduce the open ESXi firewall ports numbers
  • Have a robust backup and disaster recovery (DR) plan


What are some of the types of virtualization?

Some of the types of virtualization are:
  • Desktop Virtualization
  • Application Virtualization
  • Server Virtualization
  • Network Virtualization
  • Storage Virtualization

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Sword has 2 000+ IT/Digital & Software specialists present over five continents to accompany you in the growth of your organisation in the digital age. As a leader in technological and digital transformation, Sword has since 2000 acquired a solid reputation in software publishing and in complex IT & business project management. With Sword you have the guarantee of strong close and qualified local commitment, the aim of which is to optimise your processes and data.

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Balbix, provider of the world's leading platform for cybersecurity posture automation, announced today the general availability of support for Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Security teams can now use Balbix to easily quantify, prioritize and mitigate risks in their Google Cloud environments. With this announcement, Balbix has also extended its Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management (CAASM) solution to support multi-cloud environments that span both GCP and Amazon Web Services. The rapid move to the cloud has made IT environments more complex to manage and secure. As a result, security teams struggle to get a consolidated view of risk. Yet, 63 percent of organizations say they look at security posture in the cloud separately from on-premises, according to Cybersecurity Insiders' 2002 State of Security Posture Report. "Our customers' environments can include over 1 million assets, spread across multiple clouds and their own facilities. Managing an attack surface this large is no longer a human-scale problem. "With Balbix's new support for GCP, our customers can use automation to manage cybersecurity posture across more of their environment." Gaurav Banga, Founder and CEO of Balbix Cyber Security Posture Automation for Google Cloud Platform Balbix now provides support for popular Google Cloud services, including Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) Cluster & Deployments, Cloud Functions, Cloud Key Management Service (KMS), Pub/Sub and Secret Manager. As a result, Balbix customers with Google Cloud environments can use automation and advanced analytics to: Get comprehensive, near real-time visibility of their Google Cloud assets. Combine data from Google Cloud with their other IT and security tools to gain security and business context for their assets. Discover misconfigurations – the most exploited attack vector for the cloud – as well as unpatched software vulnerabilities, weak credentials and trust issues. Measure risk in terms of breach likelihood and business impact in order to prioritize remediation. Calculate and report on cyber risk quantified in dollars (or other currencies) instead of risk scores Cyber Asset Attack Surface Management for Multi-Cloud Environments The addition of support for GCP extends Balbix's CAASM solution to multi-cloud environments. Security practitioners no longer need to use multiple tools or combine data manually from these tools in a custom spreadsheet to understand their security posture. They can see the relationships between assets, applications and users no matter where the assets are in the cloud or on-premises. They can also identify any gaps in coverage for security controls. Balbix provides more than just visibility. Unlike other vendors, Balbix combines CAASM with Risk-Based Vulnerability Management (RBVM) and Cyber Risk Qualification (CRQ) solutions so security teams are able to immediately take action to reduce their cyber risk. They can continuously identify, prioritize and mitigate security issues as they emerge, while quantifying and tracking residual cyber risk in dollars. Daily cybersecurity decisions – operational as well as executive – can be made using a unified and up-to-date view of cyber risk. "By adding support for Google Cloud, Balbix has broadened its risk model to be inclusive of multiple public cloud platforms and allowed organizations to better measure their overall cyber risk," said Ed Amoroso, Founder and CEO of research and advisory firm TAG Cyber. "Customers can leverage this unified risk model to quantify cyber risk by business unit, geography, site, asset type or business owner – and quickly remediate those risks." The API-based Balbix Connector for Google Cloud Platform collects asset inventory and misconfiguration data and is available now. Visibility into other types of vulnerabilities is provided by optional Balbix sensors. These sensors also catalog the software bill of materials (SBOM) of applications running in GCP. Data collected by Balbix connectors and sensors is automatically deduplicated, correlated and inferenced to provide security teams with an accurate and unified view of risk. About Balbix Balbix enables businesses to reduce cyber risk by identifying and mitigating their riskiest cybersecurity issues faster. Our SaaS platform, the Balbix Security Cloud™, ingests data from businesses' security and IT tools so they can understand every aspect of their cybersecurity posture, build a unified cyber risk model and obtain actionable insights for risk reduction. With Balbix, businesses can automate inventory of their cloud and on-premise assets, conduct continuous risk-based vulnerability management and quantify cyber risk in dollars. Executives and operational teams can make cybersecurity decisions based on data not opinions.

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DATA SECURITY,PLATFORM SECURITY,SOFTWARE SECURITY

Neosec Introduces Automated Tokenization to Enable Full API Visibility Without Exposure of Sensitive Data

Neosec | November 16, 2022

Neosec, the pioneer in discovering and identifying API threats using behavioral analytics, today announced that it now tokenizes API activity data to enable organizations to fully see and store API data, removing the possibility of keeping sensitive data at-rest. Today, many organizations are blind to the threats lurking within their API traffic. Even worse, organizations are forced to implement basic logging of its API traffic that doesn't contain the meaningful information about who accessed, what records were accessed or manipulated and how. There exists a justified fear of logging sensitive data or being out of compliance, and with the lack of technology that can perform it at scale, they prefer to log with low fidelity. Those logs tell you that "somebody modified or accessed a record" but typically don't disclose who accessed it, which record, or what action was performed. This decision also results in a downstream issue of "insufficient logging", which is noted by the Open Web Application Security Project as one of the top security problems in its 2021 OWASP API Top 10. "Insufficient logging" is poor for incident forensics and, in practice, means that you can't detect abuse or investigate a case, even if you know it happened. Tokenization is the process of substituting a sensitive data element, like a credit card number, for a non-sensitive equivalent that has no intrinsic or exploitable value or meaning. Neosec's automated tokenization is part of its 'privacy by design' philosophy and is already deployed successfully at customers around the world in financial services, insurance and hospitality companies among others. The process allows retaining tokenized API activity data for the purposes of performing true behavioral analytics over time, ensures that sensitive data is never stored at rest, and enables only the customer to de-tokenize, based on the strictest data privacy practices. "Solving API security starts with basic visibility and the ability to see how the APIs are used. The problem is that virtually every company logs API activity with low fidelity that doesn't enable this basic visibility. "In order to perform true behavioral analytics and investigate cases you must store and examine historical data. But if this analysis is performed on un-tokenized data you risk storing PII and creating compliance issues. Neosec successfully retains all API activity data, in the highest fidelity, and ensures it meets data privacy standards." Giora Engel, co-founder and chief executive officer, Neosec This focus on data and the visibility it brings is what previously defined the creation of the EDR (Endpoint Detection & Response) security space. "Trying to implement API security without enabling basic visibility of activity is like going back to the antivirus age before the advent of EDR. Visibility into API activity allows you to detect threats, understand behavior, investigate and remediate" said Engel. The Neosec API security solution discovers and maintains an up-to-date inventory of all APIs in use by an organization and then uses machine learning and behavioral analytics on tokenized data to find fraud and abuse by third parties and attackers. Neosec also enables proactive API threat hunting and investigations without storing any sensitive data. The automated API data tokenization is now a capability of the Neosec platform and is fully available. There is no extra cost for use of this unique capability. About Neosec Neosec is re-inventing application security with a powerful platform that unifies security and development teams to protect modern applications from threats. The foundation of the SaaS platform is built on data and analytics to manage security at scale. Neosec prevents threats from abusing the complex network of APIs that connect today's businesses. The platform helps organizations discover every API and audit risk. Neosec has pioneered the use of behavioral analytics to understand normal versus abnormal API usage and delivers powerful threat hunting capabilities together with a team of expert threat hunters. Neosec prevents threats and stops abuse hiding within APIs and brings new intelligence to application security. Neosec is based in Palo Alto, California with R&D in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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DATA SECURITY,PLATFORM SECURITY,SOFTWARE SECURITY

ThreatX Launches Robust Online Training to Increase Access to Cybersecurity Expertise

ThreatX | November 17, 2022

ThreatX, the leading API protection platform, today announced the launch of the ThreatX Academy, an online portal hosting an extensive library of cybersecurity training modules. These courses provide an accessible and approachable opportunity for those looking to begin, or advance, their cybersecurity careers. ThreatX is providing all foundational 100-level content at no charge. Training content spans many areas of cybersecurity, including Application Security, Data Protection and Privacy, Networking, Secure DevOps and Wireless Security, among others. The need for cybersecurity professionals has been growing at a rapid pace, and that demand is expected to continue. The number of unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide grew 350% between 2013 and 2021 (from 1 million to 3.5 million). Further, it is predicted that the same number of jobs will still be open in 2025. This cybersecurity skills gap, along with the accelerated pace at which both technology and cyberattackers’ tactics are evolving, has made protecting digital assets increasingly difficult for businesses. In fact, 80% of organizations suffered one or more breaches due to a lack of cybersecurity skills and/or awareness within the last 12 months, underscoring the need for solid and robust training content. Alongside Massachusetts-based training company, Security Innovation, ThreatX developed more than 140 hours of online security training videos beginning at an introductory level and progressing to more advanced subjects, such as Blockchain Security and Automating Security Updates. All 100-level content will be available free of charge, while 200 and 300-level content will be accessible via subscription. Through the integrated learning management platform, users will be able to consume the content in sequential fashion and earn certifications. The ThreatX Academy experience is powered by Raven360, a Massachusetts-based digital Academy business. ThreatX will share all content, free of charge, with select nonprofit organizations, including participants of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s (MRC) Networking Technology Program. In addition, ThreatX Academy has partnered with (ISC)2 and is now an approved (ISC)2 CPE Submitter Partner. ThreatX content may count toward (ISC)2 CPE credits. (ISC)², is an international nonprofit cybersecurity professional organization. Through (ISC)², members can earn several well-established security certifications, including: CISSP Certified in Cybersecurity SSCP - Security Administration CCSP - Cloud Security CSSLP - Software Security In order to maintain these certifications, members must earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits. Through ThreatX’s partnership with (ISC)², security practitioners will now be able to earn CPE Credits for consuming ThreatX Academy content. “Cybersecurity is a continuous learning experience, and the need for training resources in the industry is only growing stronger. “We are excited to announce the launch of ThreatX Academy, and we look forward to advancing the program in the future as part of our broader effort to close cybersecurity’s ongoing talent gap.” Gene Fay, CEO of ThreatX About ThreatX ThreatX’s API protection platform and complete managed services make the world safer by protecting APIs from all threats, including DDoS attempts, complex botnets, zero-day and multi-mode attacks. ThreatX applies artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect and respond to even the slightest indicators of suspicious activity in real-time. Today, ThreatX protects APIs for companies in every industry across the globe.

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