Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New research offers security for virtualization, cloud computing

Date:
May 3, 2010
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Virtualization and cloud computing allow computer users access to powerful computers and software applications hosted by remote groups of servers, but security concerns related to data privacy are limiting public confidence -- and slowing adoption of the new technology. Now researchers have developed new techniques and software that may be the key to resolving those security concerns and boosting confidence in the sector.

Virtualization and cloud computing allow computer users access to powerful computers and software applications hosted by remote groups of servers, but security concerns related to data privacy are limiting public confidence -- and slowing adoption of the new technology. Now researchers from North Carolina State University have developed new techniques and software that may be the key to resolving those security concerns and boosting confidence in the sector.

Related Articles


"What we've done represents a significant advance in security for cloud computing and other virtualization applications," says Dr. Xuxian Jiang, an assistant professor of computer science and co-author of the study. "Anyone interested in the virtualization sector will be very interested in our work."

Virtualization allows the pooling of the computational power and storage of multiple computers, which can then be shared by multiple users. For example, under the cloud computing paradigm, businesses can lease computer resources from a data center to operate Web sites and interact with customers -- without having to pay for the overhead of buying and maintaining their own IT infrastructures. The virtualization manager, commonly referred to as a "hypervisor," is a type of software that creates "virtual machines" that operate in isolation from one another on a common computer. In other words, the hypervisor allows different operating systems to run in isolation from one another -- even though each of these systems is using computing power and storage capability on the same computer. This is the technique that enables concepts like cloud computing to function.

One of the major threats to virtualization -- and cloud computing -- is malicious software that enables computer viruses or other malware that have compromised one customer's system to spread to the underlying hypervisor and, ultimately, to the systems of other customers. In short, a key concern is that one cloud computing customer could download a virus -- such as one that steals user data -- and then spread that virus to the systems of all the other customers.

"If this sort of attack is feasible, it undermines consumer confidence in cloud computing," Jiang says, "since consumers couldn't trust that their information would remain confidential."

But Jiang and his Ph.D. student Zhi Wang have now developed software, called HyperSafe, that leverages existing hardware features to secure hypervisors against such attacks. "We can guarantee the integrity of the underlying hypervisor by protecting it from being compromised by any malware downloaded by an individual user," Jiang says. "By doing so, we can ensure the hypervisor's isolation."

For malware to affect a hypervisor, it typically needs to run its own code in the hypervisor. HyperSafe utilizes two components to prevent that from happening. First, the HyperSafe program "has a technique called non-bypassable memory lockdown, which explicitly and reliably bars the introduction of new code by anyone other than the hypervisor administrator," Jiang says. "This also prevents attempts to modify existing hypervisor code by external users."

Second, HyperSafe uses a technique called restricted pointer indexing. This technique "initially characterizes a hypervisor's normal behavior, and then prevents any deviation from that profile," Jiang says. "Only the hypervisor administrators themselves can introduce changes to the hypervisor code."

The research was funded by the U.S. Army Research Office and the National Science Foundation. The research, "HyperSafe: A Lightweight Approach to Provide Lifetime Hypervisor Control-Flow Integrity," will be presented May 18 at the 31st IEEE Symposium On Security And Privacy in Oakland, Calif.

NC State's Department of Computer Science is part of the university's College of Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "New research offers security for virtualization, cloud computing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427111259.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2010, May 3). New research offers security for virtualization, cloud computing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427111259.htm
North Carolina State University. "New research offers security for virtualization, cloud computing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427111259.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Samsung's Incredible Shrinking Smartphone Profits

Samsung's Incredible Shrinking Smartphone Profits

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) The world's top mobile maker is under severe pressure, delivering a 60 percent drop in Q3 profit as its handset business struggles. Turning it around may not prove easy, says Reuters' Jon Gordon. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Ban On Wearable Cameras In Movie Theaters Surprises No One

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theatre Owners now prohibit wearable cameras such as Google Glass. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Microsoft Launches Fitness Band After Accidental Reveal

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) Microsoft accidentally revealed its upcoming fitness band on Wednesday, so the company went ahead and announced it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins