Securing Your Cloud With the
Xen Hypervisor
Russell Pavlicek
Xen Project Evangelist
Citrix Systems
Who is the Old, Fat Geek Up Front?
●

Xen Project Evangelist (I have a big mouth...)

●

Employed by Citrix, focused entir...
Presentation Goals
●

Introduce the subject of security in the Cloud

●

Introduce you to the Xen Project Security Tools

...
Presentation Outline
●

A few thoughts on the problem of securing the Cloud

●

Overview of the Xen Project architecture

...
Introduction: Xen Project, The Cloud,
and Security
Introduction: Xen Project and Security
●

Xen Project produces an enterprise-grade Type 1
hypervisor

●

Built for the clo...
The Cloud Security Conundrum
●

Cloud Security: The 800lb Gorilla in the room
–

Nothing generates more fear in specific, ...
Cloud Security: New Visibility to an Old Problem
●

●

●

●

Security has always been an IT issue
Putting a truly secure s...
Use Security by Design, Not by Wishful Thinking

●

Security by wishful thinking no longer works
–

–

Addressing security...
Xen Project: Security by Design
●

Xen Project was designed for clouds before the term
“cloud” was ever coined in the indu...
Basic Architecture of the Xen Project
Hypervisor
Hypervisor Architectures
Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor
A pure Hypervisor that runs directly on the
hardware and hosts Gues...
Hypervisor Architectures
Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor

Type 2: OS ‘Hosted’

A pure Hypervisor that runs directly on the
h...
Xen Project: Type 1 with a Twist
Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor

VMn
VM1
VM0
Guest OS
and Apps

Hypervisor

Host HW

Device...
Xen Project: Type 1 with a Twist
Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor

XEN Architecture

VMn
VM1

VMn
VM1

VM0
Guest OS
and Apps
...
Xen Project: Type 1 with a Twist
Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor

VMn
VM1
VM0
Guest OS
and Apps

Hypervisor

Host HW

Device...
Xen Project Architecture: Basic Parts
Security Thinking: An Approach
An Approach to Security Thinking
●

Threat models:
–
–

●

Attacker can access network
Attacker controls one Guest VM

Sec...
Example System For This
Discussion
●

Hardware setup
–
–

●

Two networks: one Control network, one Guest network
IOMMU wi...
Attacking the Network Interface
Attack Surface: Network Path
Attack Surface: Network Path
●

Where might an exploit focus?
–

Bugs in hardware driver

–

Bugs in bridging / filtering
...
Result: Network Path Compromised
Result: Network Path Compromised
Vulnerability Analysis:
What could a successful exploit yield?

Control of Domain 0 kerne...
Security Feature: Driver Domains
Security Feature: Driver Domains
●

What is a Driver Domain?
–

Unprivileged VM which drives hardware

–

It provides driv...
Result: Driver Domain Compromised
Result: Driver Domain Compromised
●

Now a successful exploit could yield:
–

Control of the Driver Domain
(Paravirtualiza...
Basic How To: Driver Domains
●

Create a VM with appropriate drivers
–

●

Use any distribution suitable as a Control Doma...
Basic How To: Driver Domains
●

Configure the guest Virtual Network Interface (vif) to
use the new domain ID
–

Add “backe...
Attacking the PyGrub Boot Loader
Attack Surface: PyGrub
Attack Surface: PyGrub
●

What is PyGrub?
–
–

●

“grub” implementation for Paravirtualized guests
A Python program runnin...
Attack Surface: PyGrub
Attack Surface: PyGrub
●

Where might an exploit focus?
–
–

Bugs in menu parser

–
●

Bugs in file system parser

Bugs in...
Result: PyGrub Compromised
Result: PyGrub Compromised
Vulnerability Analysis:
What could a successful exploit yield?

Control of Domain 0 user space
...
Security Feature: Fixed Kernels
Security Feature: Fixed Kernels
●

What is a fixed kernel?
–

Passing a known-good kernel from Control Domain
●

●

–
●

N...
Security Feature: PVgrub
Security Feature: PVgrub
●

What is PVgrub?
–

MiniOS plus the Paravirtualized port of “grub” running
in a guest context

...
Result: PVgrub Compromised
Vulnerability Analysis:
Now a successful exploit could yield:

Control of the attacked Guest Do...
Basic HowTo: PVgrub
●

Make sure that you have the PVgrub image
–
–

Normally lives in “/usr/lib/xen/boot”

–

Debian, SLE...
Attacking the Qemu Device Model
Attack Surface: Device Model (Qemu)
Attack Surface: Device Model (Qemu)

●

What is Qemu?
–
–

●

In other contexts, a virtualization provider
In the Xen Proj...
Result: Device Model Compromised
Vulnerability Analysis:
What could a successful exploit yield?

Control Domain privileged...
Security Feature: Qemu Stub Domains

●

What is a stub domain?
–

Stub domain: a small “service'' domain running just
one ...
Result: Stub Domain Compromised
Vulnerability Analysis:
Now a successful exploit could yield:

Control only of the stub do...
Basic HowTo: Qemu Stub Domains
●

Make sure that you have the ioemu image:
–
–

Normally lives in “/usr/lib/xen/boot”

–

...
Attacking the Hypervisor Itself
Attack Surface: The Hypervisor Itself
●

Where might an exploit focus?
–

On Paravirtualized (PV) Guests:

–

PV Hypercall...
Using the Xen Project Security Module
Security Feature: FLASK Policy
●

What is FLASK?
–

Xen Security Module (XSM): Xen Project equivalent of
LSM

–

FLASK: FL...
Security Feature: FLASK Policy
●

What can FLASK do?
–

–
●

Basic: Restricts hypercalls to those needed by a particular
g...
Basic HowTo: FLASK Example Policy
●

Build Xen Project software with XSM enabled

●

Build the example policy

●

Add the ...
ARM-Specific Security Features
Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match
ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization

ARM SOC

User mode : EL0
Device Tree des...
Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match
ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization

ARM SOC

EL0
Device Tree describes …

EL...
Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match
ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization

ARM SOC

Any Xen Project Guest VM (inclu...
Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match
ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization

ARM SOC
Dom0
Dom0
only

Any Xen Project ...
ARM: Right Solution for Security
●

Stays in ARM Hypervisor Mode
–
–

Because Xen Project's architecture maps so well to t...
For More Information...
Detailed Info
http://wiki.xenproject.org/wiki/Securing_Xen
Thanks to George Dunlap for supplying m...
Scale 12x Securing Your Cloud with The Xen Hypervisor
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Scale 12x Securing Your Cloud with The Xen Hypervisor

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Presentation by Russell Pavlicek at SCALE 12X on February 23, 2014

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Scale 12x Securing Your Cloud with The Xen Hypervisor

  1. 1. Securing Your Cloud With the Xen Hypervisor Russell Pavlicek Xen Project Evangelist Citrix Systems
  2. 2. Who is the Old, Fat Geek Up Front? ● Xen Project Evangelist (I have a big mouth...) ● Employed by Citrix, focused entirely on Xen project ● History with open source begins in 1995 ● ● ● Former columnist for Infoworld, Processor magazines Former panelist on The Linux Show, speaker at over 50 Open Source conferences Over 150 pieces published, one book on open source, plus blogs
  3. 3. Presentation Goals ● Introduce the subject of security in the Cloud ● Introduce you to the Xen Project Security Tools ● Discuss some key Xen Project security features ● Get you started in the right direction toward securing your Xen Project Hypervisor installation
  4. 4. Presentation Outline ● A few thoughts on the problem of securing the Cloud ● Overview of the Xen Project architecture ● Brief introduction to the principles of security analysis ● Examine some of the attack surfaces and the Xen Project features we can use to mitigate them: – Driver Domains – PVgrub – Stub Domains – Paravirtualization (PV) versus Hardware Virtualization (HVM) – FLASK example policy
  5. 5. Introduction: Xen Project, The Cloud, and Security
  6. 6. Introduction: Xen Project and Security ● Xen Project produces an enterprise-grade Type 1 hypervisor ● Built for the cloud before it was called cloud ● A number of advanced security features – Driver domains, stub domains, FLASK, and more – Most of them are not (or cannot) be turned on by default – Although they can be simple to use, sometimes they appear complicated
  7. 7. The Cloud Security Conundrum ● Cloud Security: The 800lb Gorilla in the room – Nothing generates more fear in specific, and FUD in general – Probably the single greatest barrier to Cloud adoption – Immediately behind it is the inability to get out of the 20th century IT mindset – Must get past the “Change is Bad” concept of 1980 – Cloud is about embracing change at a rapid pace The good news: the “Gorilla” is actually a “Red Herring” ● ● We don't need to fear it – we just need to solve it
  8. 8. Cloud Security: New Visibility to an Old Problem ● ● ● ● Security has always been an IT issue Putting a truly secure system in the open does not reduce its security, it just increases the frequency of attack Unfortunately, system security behind the firewall has not always been comprehensive Having solutions in an external cloud forces us to solve the security issues we should have already solved News Flash: Security Through Obscurity is Dead
  9. 9. Use Security by Design, Not by Wishful Thinking ● Security by wishful thinking no longer works – – Addressing security in one area while ignoring others is NOT good enough – ● Merely hoping that your firewall holds off the marauding hordes is NOT good enough Saying, “We never had a problem before” is NOT good enough Comprehensive security starts with design – It needs to be planned carefully and thought through – It needs to be implemented at multiple levels – It needs components which are themselves securable
  10. 10. Xen Project: Security by Design ● Xen Project was designed for clouds before the term “cloud” was ever coined in the industry – http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research//srg/netos/xeno/publ ications.html Xen Project is designed to thwart attacks from many attack vectors, using different defensive techniques – ● Designers foresaw the day of “infrastructure for wide-area distributed computing” which we now call “the cloud”
  11. 11. Basic Architecture of the Xen Project Hypervisor
  12. 12. Hypervisor Architectures Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor A pure Hypervisor that runs directly on the hardware and hosts Guest OS’s. VMn VM1 VM0 Guest OS and Apps Hypervisor Host HW Device Drivers/ Models I/O Memory Scheduler MMU CPUs Provides partition isolation + reliability, higher security
  13. 13. Hypervisor Architectures Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor Type 2: OS ‘Hosted’ A pure Hypervisor that runs directly on the hardware and hosts Guest OS’s. A Hypervisor that runs within a Host OS and hosts Guest OS’s inside of it, using the host OS services to provide the virtual environment. VMn VM1 VM0 User-level VMM User Apps Device Models Guest OS and Apps Hypervisor Host HW I/O Memory Scheduler MMU CPUs Provides partition isolation + reliability, higher security Device Drivers Host HW VM0 Guest OS and Apps Host OS Device Drivers/ Models VMn VM1 I/O Ring-0 VM Monitor “Kernel “ Memory CPUs Low cost, no additional drivers Ease of use and installation
  14. 14. Xen Project: Type 1 with a Twist Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor VMn VM1 VM0 Guest OS and Apps Hypervisor Host HW Device Drivers/ Models I/O Memory Scheduler MMU CPUs
  15. 15. Xen Project: Type 1 with a Twist Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor XEN Architecture VMn VM1 VMn VM1 VM0 Guest OS and Apps Hypervisor Host HW Device Drivers/ Models I/O Memory VM0 Guest OS and Apps Scheduler MMU CPUs MMU Scheduler Host HW I/O Memory CPUs
  16. 16. Xen Project: Type 1 with a Twist Type 1: Bare metal Hypervisor VMn VM1 VM0 Guest OS and Apps Hypervisor Host HW Device Drivers/ Models I/O Memory Scheduler MMU CPUs XEN Architecture Control domain (dom0) VMn VM1 Device Models VM0 Drivers Guest OS and Apps Linux & BSD MMU Scheduler Host HW I/O Memory CPUs
  17. 17. Xen Project Architecture: Basic Parts
  18. 18. Security Thinking: An Approach
  19. 19. An Approach to Security Thinking ● Threat models: – – ● Attacker can access network Attacker controls one Guest VM Security considerations to evaluate: – – What is the interface like? (e.g., pointers vs scalars) – ● How much code is accessible? Defense-in-depth: how many rings of defense surround you? Then combine security tactics to secure the installation – There is no single "magic bullet" – Individual tactics reduce danger; combined tactics go farther
  20. 20. Example System For This Discussion ● Hardware setup – – ● Two networks: one Control network, one Guest network IOMMU with interrupt remapping (AMD or Intel VT-d v2) to allow for full hardware virtualization (HVM) Default configuration – Network drivers in the Control Domain (aka "Domain 0" or just "Dom0") – Paravirtualized (PV) guests using PyGrub (grub-like boot utility within context of Guest Domain) – Hardware Virtualized (HVM) guests using Qemu (as the device model) running in the Control Domain
  21. 21. Attacking the Network Interface
  22. 22. Attack Surface: Network Path
  23. 23. Attack Surface: Network Path ● Where might an exploit focus? – Bugs in hardware driver – Bugs in bridging / filtering – Bugs in netback (via the ring protocol) ● ● Netback and Netfront are part of the Paravirtualization mode Note the exploits – The main exploits exist already, even in hardware – The netback surface is very small, but needs to be acknowledged – When these are attacked in hardware, you have deep trouble – You actually have better defense in the VM than in hardware
  24. 24. Result: Network Path Compromised
  25. 25. Result: Network Path Compromised Vulnerability Analysis: What could a successful exploit yield? Control of Domain 0 kernel This could lead to the control of the whole system
  26. 26. Security Feature: Driver Domains
  27. 27. Security Feature: Driver Domains ● What is a Driver Domain? – Unprivileged VM which drives hardware – It provides driver access to guest VMs – Very limited scope; not a full operating system – Does not have the access or capability of a full VM
  28. 28. Result: Driver Domain Compromised
  29. 29. Result: Driver Domain Compromised ● Now a successful exploit could yield: – Control of the Driver Domain (Paravirtualization hypercall interface) ● – But the Driver Domain is limited: no shell, no utilities Control of that guest's network traffic ● But in the cloud, most orchestrators detect network traffic failure ● The problem is not allowed to stand very long – Control of the network interface card (NIC) – An opportunity to attack the netfront of other guest VMs ● But to take advantage of this platform, you need to launch another attack ● Compound attacks are complex, and they take time which you may not have
  30. 30. Basic How To: Driver Domains ● Create a VM with appropriate drivers – ● Use any distribution suitable as a Control Domain Install the Xen Project hotplug scripts – Just installing the Xen Project tools in the VM is usually good enough ● Give the VM access to the physical NIC with PCI passthrough ● Configure the network topology in the Driver Domain – Just like you would for the Control Domain
  31. 31. Basic How To: Driver Domains ● Configure the guest Virtual Network Interface (vif) to use the new domain ID – Add “backend=domnet” to vif declaration vif = [ 'type=pv, bridge=xenbr0, backend=domnet' ] Detailed Info http://wiki.xenproject.org/wiki/Driver_Domain
  32. 32. Attacking the PyGrub Boot Loader
  33. 33. Attack Surface: PyGrub
  34. 34. Attack Surface: PyGrub ● What is PyGrub? – – ● “grub” implementation for Paravirtualized guests A Python program running in Control Domain What does it do? – It reads the guest VM's filesystem – It parses grub.conf – It displays a boot menu to the user – It passes the selected kernel image to domain builder
  35. 35. Attack Surface: PyGrub
  36. 36. Attack Surface: PyGrub ● Where might an exploit focus? – – Bugs in menu parser – ● Bugs in file system parser Bugs in domain builder Again, note the exploits – Forms of these exist in hardware as well – But hardware doesn't have as many options to combat the situation
  37. 37. Result: PyGrub Compromised
  38. 38. Result: PyGrub Compromised Vulnerability Analysis: What could a successful exploit yield? Control of Domain 0 user space This could lead to the control of the whole system
  39. 39. Security Feature: Fixed Kernels
  40. 40. Security Feature: Fixed Kernels ● What is a fixed kernel? – Passing a known-good kernel from Control Domain ● ● – ● No longer allows a user to choose the kernel Best practice for anything in production Removes attacker avenue to domain builder Disadvantages – Host administrator must keep up with kernel updates – Guest admin can't pass kernel parameters or custom kernels
  41. 41. Security Feature: PVgrub
  42. 42. Security Feature: PVgrub ● What is PVgrub? – MiniOS plus the Paravirtualized port of “grub” running in a guest context – Paravirtualized equivalent of Hardware Virtualized combination of BIOS plus grub
  43. 43. Result: PVgrub Compromised Vulnerability Analysis: Now a successful exploit could yield: Control of the attacked Guest Domain alone Control Domain is no longer at risk
  44. 44. Basic HowTo: PVgrub ● Make sure that you have the PVgrub image – – Normally lives in “/usr/lib/xen/boot” – Debian, SLES: Currently need to build for yourself – ● “pvgrub-$ARCH.gz” Included in Fedora Xen Project packages Use appropriate PVgrub as bootloader in guest configuration: – kernel="/usr/lib/xen/boot/pvgrub-x86_32.gz" See http://wiki.xenproject.org/wiki/Pvgrub
  45. 45. Attacking the Qemu Device Model
  46. 46. Attack Surface: Device Model (Qemu)
  47. 47. Attack Surface: Device Model (Qemu) ● What is Qemu? – – ● In other contexts, a virtualization provider In the Xen Project context, a provider of needed device models Where might an exploit focus? – Bugs in NIC emulator parsing packets – Bugs in emulation of virtual devices
  48. 48. Result: Device Model Compromised Vulnerability Analysis: What could a successful exploit yield? Control Domain privileged user space This could lead to the control of the whole system
  49. 49. Security Feature: Qemu Stub Domains ● What is a stub domain? – Stub domain: a small “service'' domain running just one application – Qemu stub domain: run each Qemu in its own domain
  50. 50. Result: Stub Domain Compromised Vulnerability Analysis: Now a successful exploit could yield: Control only of the stub domain VM (which, if FLASK is employed, is a relatively small universe) You need to devise another attack entirely to do anything more significant
  51. 51. Basic HowTo: Qemu Stub Domains ● Make sure that you have the ioemu image: – – Normally lives in “/usr/lib/xen/boot” – SUSE SLES, currently need to build it yourself (SLES 12?) – Included in Fedora Xen Project packages – ● “ioemu-$ARCH.gz” On Debian (and offshoots), you will need to build it yourself Specify stub domains in your guest configuration: device_model_stubdomain_override = 1 Detailed Info http://wiki.xenproject.org/wiki/Device_Model_Stub_Domains
  52. 52. Attacking the Hypervisor Itself
  53. 53. Attack Surface: The Hypervisor Itself ● Where might an exploit focus? – On Paravirtualized (PV) Guests: – PV Hypercalls On full Hardware Virtualized (HVM) Guests: ● HVM hypercalls (Subset of PV hypercalls) ● Instruction emulation (MMIO, shadow pagetables) ● Emulated platform devices: APIC, HPET, PIT ● Nested virtualization Security practice: Use PV VMs whenever possible ● ●
  54. 54. Using the Xen Project Security Module
  55. 55. Security Feature: FLASK Policy ● What is FLASK? – Xen Security Module (XSM): Xen Project equivalent of LSM – FLASK: FLux Advanced Security Kernel – Framework for XSM developed by NSA – Xen Project equivalent of SELinux – Uses same concepts and tools as SELinux – Allows a policy to restrict hypercalls
  56. 56. Security Feature: FLASK Policy ● What can FLASK do? – – ● Basic: Restricts hypercalls to those needed by a particular guest Advanced: Allows more fine-grained granting of privileges FLASK example policy – This contains example roles for the Control Domain (dom0), User/Guest Domain(domU), stub domains, driver domains, etc. – Make sure you TEST the example policy in your environment BEFORE putting it into production! NOTE: As an example policy, it is not as rigorously tested as other parts of Xen during release; make sure it is suitable for you
  57. 57. Basic HowTo: FLASK Example Policy ● Build Xen Project software with XSM enabled ● Build the example policy ● Add the appropriate label to guest config files: – “seclabel=[foo]” – “stubdom_label=[foo]” Detailed Info http://wiki.xenproject.org/wiki/Xen_Security_Modules_:_XSM-FLASK
  58. 58. ARM-Specific Security Features
  59. 59. Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization ARM SOC User mode : EL0 Device Tree describes … Kernel mode : EL1 I/O Hypercall Interface HVC GT GIC v2 2 stage MMU Hypervisor mode : EL2
  60. 60. Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization ARM SOC EL0 Device Tree describes … EL1 I/O HVC GT GIC v2 2 stage MMU EL2 Xen Project Hypervisor
  61. 61. Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization ARM SOC Any Xen Project Guest VM (including Dom0) Project Guest VM (including Dom0) EL0 User Space User Space Device Tree describes … Kernel Kernel EL1 I/O HVC GT GIC v2 2 stage MMU EL2 Xen Project Hypervisor
  62. 62. Xen Project + ARM = A Perfect Match ARM Architecture Features for Virtualization ARM SOC Dom0 Dom0 only Any Xen Project Guest VM (including Dom0) Project Guest VM (including Dom0) EL0 User Space User Space Device Tree describes … Kernel Kernel PV back I/O PV EL1 front HVC GT GIC v2 2 stage MMU EL2 Xen Project Hypervisor
  63. 63. ARM: Right Solution for Security ● Stays in ARM Hypervisor Mode – – Because Xen Project's architecture maps so well to the ARM architecture, the hypervisor never has to use Kernel mode – Other hypervisors have to flip back and forth between modes – If a hypervisor has to enter Kernel mode, it loses the security of running in a privileged mode, isolated from the rest of the system – ● The ARM architecture has separate Hypervisor and Kernel modes This is a non-issue with the Xen Project Hypervisor on ARM Does not need to use device emulation – No emulation means a smaller attack surface for bad guys
  64. 64. For More Information... Detailed Info http://wiki.xenproject.org/wiki/Securing_Xen Thanks to George Dunlap for supplying much of the information presented here, and Stefano Stabellini for ARM information Center of the Xen Project universe: http://www.XenProject.org/ Contact me at russell.pavlicek@xenproject.org Thank You!
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