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Using a Hypervisor to Migrate Running Operating Systems to Secure Virtual Machines

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5 Author(s)
Nomoto, T. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of Electro-Commun., Tokyo, Japan ; Oyama, Y. ; Eiraku, H. ; Shinagawa, T.
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We propose HyperShield, which is a hypervisor that can be inserted into and removed from a running operating system, for improving security. While many existing security-oriented hypervisors require modifying or rebooting an overlying operating system, HyperShield does not require this. HyperShield is intended to be a general framework for various security mechanisms. The current implementation provides two mechanisms for preventing kernel-level buffer overflow. One detects the execution of user code with the kernel privilege, and the other detects malicious modification of a return address in a control stack. HyperShield is implemented on Linux as a loadable kernel module. When the module is inserted, it places itself under the operating system and executes as a hypervisor. The operating system is migrated into a virtual machine and managed by the hypervisor. HyperShield detects attacks by combining virtualization of memory management with a hardware-assisted execution-bit feature. We have confirmed through experiments that HyperShield successfully prevented kernel-level buffer overflow attacks.

Published in:

Computer Software and Applications Conference (COMPSAC), 2010 IEEE 34th Annual

Date of Conference:

19-23 July 2010