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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Virtual Machines : Escape vs Introspection

1.   For last few years playing inside a VM ,I always used to wonder if it actually that safe surfing anything inside a VM...and that hardly anything gets in touch with the Host machine while we work with applications inside.Then I heard of two relative terms that are : Virtual Machine Escape vs Virtual Machine Introspection

2.  New to me but pretty old from point of view of existence....these are briefly explained below :

Virtual Machine Escape

Normally virtual machines are encapsulated, isolated environments. The operating systems running inside the virtual machine shouldn't know that they are virtualized, and there should be no way to break out of the virtual machine and interact with the parent hyper visor  The process of breaking out and interacting with the hyper visor is called a “VM escape.” Since the hyper visor controls the execution of all of the virtual machines an attacker that can gain access to the hyper visor can then gain control over every other virtual machine running on the host. Because the hyper visor is between the physical hardware and the guest operating system an attacker will then be able to circumvent security controls in place on the virtual machine.(Source :

Virtual Machine Introspection

Although virtualization isn’t new, the recent development of x86 virtualization products has revived interest in the virtualization market. This has led to the evolution of Virtual Machine Introspection (VMI) techniques and tools to monitor VM behavior. VMI tools inspect a VM from the outside to assess what’s happening on the inside.This makes it possible for security tools—such as virus scanners and intrusion detection system to observe and respond to VM events from a “safe” location outside the monitored machine. Depth of information is the fundamental benefit behind a concept called Virtual Machine Introspection (VMI). Its use within virtualized environments is absolutely crucial to effective risk mitigation at scale.(Source : |

So the basic difference is I think the route,in case of the former the need is to contact the hypervisor from inside and the latter shows the way out to get to know whats happening inside from outside perspective.....


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