Virtualisation to be attacked in 2010

Virtualised systems will increasingly be the target of attacks due to its increasing popularity in the enterprise world, according to an industry executive.

Cyber attacks

As virtualisation becomes more widely adopted, hacking attacks will be soon to follow.

This is the view of Jon Ramsey, chief technology officer of Secureworks, who believes 2010 will see the flaws in virtualisation exploited at a new level.

In an interview with IT PRO, Ramsey said: "I think virtualisation has reached the tipping point of market share. I think it is widely deployed enough now that it makes sense for criminals to start targeting it whereas maybe up until this year it wasn't as widely deployed so they didn't pay any attention to it."

"We see in both the black hat and white hat communities a lot of work being done understanding virtualisation vulnerabilities. We have not seen a whole lot of exploits come out that use those vulnerabilities to take control of machines but we think that will change sometime this year."

He said that the big vendors of the security industry have not started protecting this type of technology yet, due to a lack of exploits occurring - but this is set to change.

"The interesting thing in virtualisation is you see a lot of new start-up companies creating new technologies specifically for the security of virtualisation," Ramsey added.

"There are some incumbent firewall vendors who are now moving into the virtualisation space but a lot of the large vendors have been dragging their feet because they are hardware based vendors and they want to sell hardware, that's how they make their profit."

Ramsey believes that as more enterprises experience attacks against their virtualisation tech and look to the security vendors for help, the bigger companies will take stock.

"I don't see a lot of demand right now in the area of virtualisation security but I think that will change this year and that will cause a market shift where the large vendors will buy all the start up companies," he said.

Ramsey concluded: "If you look at the number of organisations that use virtualisation technology, it is pretty widely deployed, and I think vendors are going to have to start [addressing it]."

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