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Publication - Professor Awais Rashid

    A Cross-Virtual Machine Network Channel Attack via Mirroring and TAP Impersonation


    Saeed, A, Garraghan, P, Craggs, B, Linden, Dvd, Rashid, A & Hussain, SA, 2018, ‘A Cross-Virtual Machine Network Channel Attack via Mirroring and TAP Impersonation’. in: 2018 IEEE 11th International Conference on Cloud Computing (CLOUD 2018): Proceedings of a meeting held 2-7 July 2018, San Francisco, California, USA. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), San Francisco, pp. 606-613


    Data privacy and security is a leading concern for providers and customers of cloud computing, where Virtual Machines (VMs) can co-reside within the same underlying physical machine. Side channel attacks within multi-tenant virtualized cloud environments are an established problem, where attackers are able to monitor and exfiltrate data from co-resident VMs. Virtualization services have attempted to mitigate such attacks by preventing VM-to-VM interference on shared hardware by providing logical resource isolation between co-located VMs via an internal virtual network. However, such approaches are also insecure, with attackers capable of performing network channel attacks which bypass mitigation strategies using vectors such as ARP Spoofing, TCP/IP steganography, and DNS poisoning. In this paper we identify a new vulnerability within the internal cloud virtual network, showing that through a combination of TAP impersonation and mirroring, a malicious VM can successfully redirect and monitor network traffic of VMs co-located within the same physical machine. We demonstrate the feasibility of this attack in a prominent cloud platform - OpenStack - under various security requirements and system conditions, and propose countermeasures for mitigation.

    Full details in the University publications repository