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VM Rootkits: The Next Big Threat Print E-mail
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Source: eWeek - Posted by Eric Lubow   
Host Security Lab rats at Microsoft Research and the University of Michigan have teamed up to create prototypes for virtual machine-based rootkits that significantly push the envelope for hiding malware and that can maintain control of a target operating system. The proof-of-concept rootkit, called SubVirt, exploits known security flaws and drops a VMM (virtual machine monitor) underneath a Windows or Linux installation.

Once the target operating system is hoisted into a virtual machine, the rootkit becomes impossible to detect because its state cannot be accessed by security software running in the target system, according to documentation seen by eWEEK. The prototype, which will be presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy later in 2006, is the brainchild of Microsoft's Cybersecurity and Systems Management Research Group, the Redmond, Wash., unit responsible for the Strider GhostBuster anti-rootkit scanner and the Strider HoneyMonkey exploit detection patrol.

Read this full article at eWeek

Comments
And the nightmare begins ...Written by Sjan Evardsson on 2006-03-13 15:41:28
Those of us in the IT Security field probably think nothing of running 3 or 4 (or more) OSes on our laptops under VMs, for the purpose of testing, debugging, etc. The idea that the VM itself could be comprimised, however, makes for a whole other level of security concern. I think there are probably quite a few of us who feel "safe" running an unknown VM image as long as networking and local disk access is disabled - but with something like this lurking underneath what we may think is disabled is actually running, and well, you get the picture. 
 
The question I would pose is whether any of the AVs on the market currently can detect this from the host system? Since this runs above the host system but under the VM that should be possible. 

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