Hacking Virtual Machines Part 1 - Sniffing

Virtualization is considered to be the new renaissance in computing. Suddenly, all those over sized servers are put to great use by putting multiple Guest OS's on them. But running IT services in a virtualized environment brings a whole host of new opportunities for hackers.

We will discuss the opportunities in this series of articles, with uncreative title "Hacking Virtual Machines".

Sniffing attack
By definition, a virtualization host will have several Guest OS systems running. Possibly, these systems will have a different purpose, and different levels of patching and functional configuration. The Guest OS systems should be perfectly isolated between each other and not access the same resource at the same time.

But most virtualization implementations collide on this rule at the network level. It is quite common that all Guest OS systems are accessing the LAN via one Network Adapter. And not many implementations of Virtual servers have configured virtual VLans.


All this means that if one virtual machine starts a sniffer - putting the adapter in a promiscuous mode - it is quite possible to sniff traffic from the other virtual machines, and collect all sorts of interesting information.

The sniffing attack is a second phase attack, after the first virtual machine has been compromised.

The following video presents an actual compromised VMware Guest is used for sniffing the LAN and capturing the data of a second VMware Guest on the same Host.

The sniffing target is a web server, running the Hacmebank web application. The sniffing easily captures authenticaiton process, as well as money transfer transactions



Talkback and comments are most welcome

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The Guest OS systems should be perfectly isolated between each other and not access the same resource at the same time.not spinning

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