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How Can Your VM be Hacked? Foolproof Protection Tips

Virtual machines are great alternatives to physical ones because of their immense benefits. However, they are still vulnerable to hackers. For instance, in 2017, on Pwn2Own, the Chinese teams, 360 Security and Tencent Security, escaped from a virtual operating system deployed in a VMware Workstation. In this instance, the hackers used a complex combination.

Fortunately, you can use various methods to protect your machines. For example, you can utilize Hyper-V backup solutions (read more about practical solutions here). Read on below to discover more practical insights to protect your virtual machines.


Use Updated Antivirus

You can protect your VMs using an updated antivirus. Remember, all virtual machines are targets for hackers and malware. Moreover, you can talk to your IaaS provider to supply you with comprehensive endpoint protection tools. This step is necessary because hackers have developed viruses, specifically targeting virtual machines. These viruses hide from host machines, making it difficult to detect them.

Stay Updated

Also, keep updating your operating system whenever the developer updates it. Otherwise, failing to update it on time could expose your machines to hackers. Irrespective of whether you use Linux or Windows, you have to apply every security patch the developer suggests. Otherwise, updating the system without the patches could still expose your VM to attacks.

Use the Host Machine Only for Your Virtual Infrastructure

You also need to use your host only for its intended purpose – a central server. If you use your host for other purposes, your machines could be vulnerable. For example, your host machine shouldn’t host any website except the one that offers its management interface. Therefore, avoid overloading it since doing so exposes it to avoidable and detrimental security threats.

Encrypt Virtual Drives

You have to protect your VM by encrypting your virtual drives. It’s good to remember that any user accessing your host machine can add virtual hard drives to it and bypass the guest operating system’s security protocols. Guest access compromises safety, but you can avoid this security challenge by encrypting your hard drives in all the guest operating systems.

You can use practical tools to encrypt your guest operating systems. For example, PGP Whole Disk Encryption protects an entire guest operating system. Fortunately, encoding your virtual hard drive eliminates the potential threats that could face your host machine.

Limit Access and Unnecessary Apps

It’s also necessary to limit access to the virtual machine and all unnecessary apps to secure them. Remember, your virtual machine is like all your other digital tools. For instance, it has passwords you can share with other people. Therefore, safeguard its password to limit access to it; you have to keep updating your passwords regularly to restrict access.

One way to enhance this measure is to change your default passwords, deactivating accounts of sacked employees, and maintaining an updated list of who accesses the machine. You also have to know the level of access, and activities users wield.

Also, take care of your apps. It’s critical to avoid downloading apps and leaving them active irrespective of whether you are using them or not. Otherwise, you could expose your virtual machine to hackers. Therefore, continuously track the apps that run on your virtual machine’s server. You should know who adds apps to the machine and what the apps do. Make sure you delete all unnecessary programs on your machine. Remember, lesser apps running on your machine means reduced exposure and hence, improved security.

Disable Unnecessary Functionality

Lastly, you should look for any additional functionalities in the system and disable them. This way, you reduce the possibility of getting attacked. Remember, most of the least used features are deactivated by default. Just like apps, all functions running on the machine are targets for attacks.

So, fewer functionalities mean lesser chances of hackers attacking your VM. Fortunately, a virtual machine doesn’t need many functionalities like physical computers. Thus, you have little to lose when you deactivate some functions to enjoy greater virtual machine security.

There you go with pro tips to take your VM security to a higher level. Use them wisely to outperform hackers and data thieves; with rigorous safety measures, you will always be one step ahead.

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