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VM escaping

(also Virtual machine escaping)

VM escaping definition

VM escaping is a vulnerability in virtualization technology where an attacker escapes the isolation of a virtual machine and gains access to the underlying operating system and other VMs on the same physical machine. In turn, they may also gain access to any sensitive information that is stored on that device or even the network it is connected to.

VM escaping can happen due to vulnerabilities in the virtualization software, misconfigurations, or by exploiting software vulnerabilities in the host's operating system.

How to prevent VM escaping and minimize damage

  • Updating software regularly. Installing updates and patches the moment they are available will reduce the risk of someone exploiting bugs in the virtualization software or other software running in the virtual environment.
  • Isolating virtual environments. Isolating virtual machines from one another and from the host operating system can prevent mass malware infection and unrestricted access to the whole system in case of a VM escape.
  • Restricting network access. Network access to the virtual environment should be limited and carefully monitored to detect suspicious activity.
  • Monitoring and logging. Automatic and manual monitoring of virtual machine activity can help detect VM escaping attempts and other security incidents, allowing for rapid response.
  • Using security software. Installing an antivirus and other security software on the host machine can help minimize damage in case of a VM escape.

See also: virtual machine, data breach