VBS and HVCI;what are both technologies used for?

In this blog, we will share the benefits of integrating Microsoft VBS with Hyper-V Virtual Computer Interface (HVCI) in Windows. We will also review use case scenarios for VBS and HVCI integration including virtualization-enabled secure user authentication, enabling secure access to sensitive virtual machines, and more granular control over virtual resources based on user identity. Username. These are just a few examples of how these two technologies can be combined to make life easier for administrators and reduce attack surfaces.

Index of contents

  • Introduction to the security of virtual machines or VMs
    • Use unique and strong passwords for each virtual machine
    • Block network ports
    • Use the virtual machine wrapper
    • Keep the software up to date
    • Be careful what you store in the VM
    • Install a malware prevention tool
    • Don’t forget to make a backup.
  • What is Microsoft’s VBS?
  • What is HVCI?
  • Advantages of integrating VBS and HVCI in Windows

Introduction to the security of virtual machines or VMs

Today, virtual machines are used in many cases as a substitute for host operating systems. Just look at the cloud, with VPS being offered on many services. For this reason, virtual machines (VM) or virtual machines (VM) have become the target of cyberattacks , since they can handle data as relevant as the host machines.

To secure VMs, here are some basic tips :

Use unique and strong passwords for each virtual machine

Now more than ever, it is necessary to use strong passwords for every virtual machine on your network. Ideally, each virtual machine should have a different password, but if you have many machines that can be more difficult. Strong passwords are the foundation of a secure computing environment. They control access to the virtual machine and any sensitive information stored on it.

Password management tools can help you make sure you have strong passwords for all your sensitive accounts. They can also help you organize and store them so they are easy to locate when needed. If you use an enterprise-grade VPN service, there’s a good chance it has built-in password security features. If not, look into third-party tools to help you manage your passwords.

Block network ports

Virtual machines are likely to host sensitive data on the network, so you must ensure that only authorized users can access this data. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use virtual port blocking to restrict access to ports that host sensitive data. This can be an effective way to prevent malicious software from accessing data inside the virtual machine. Most modern network port monitoring tools can do this for you, which is highly recommended to prevent attacks on virtual machines.

Make sure all your virtual machines have the most up-to-date network port settings . If you have legacy systems that are no longer in use, consider closing your network ports. Port security settings can be changed to completely block access or allow access from certain IP addresses. This can be an effective way to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive data, especially if you don’t know which ports hackers are targeting.

Use the virtual machine wrapper

Virtual machine wrapping is a security technique that is designed to protect virtual machines from attacks such as malware, ransomware, data breaches, and tampering. When a virtual machine is wrapped, the host server and the virtual machine are placed in a sort of quarantine that prevents them from being accessed by other hosts on the network .

This is a great way to protect virtual machines from cyber attacks by keeping them isolated from the rest of the network . It also allows you to completely shut down a virtual machine if it is infected and quarantine it from the rest of the network. There are several commercial products that protect against attacks. However, many organizations also use virtual machine wrapper software that they have developed in-house.

Keep the software up to date

You may need to install a lot of older software on a virtual machine, but make sure you have the latest version available . This is especially true if you are running legacy software that is no longer supported by the vendor.

Hackers are always looking for security vulnerabilities to exploit, and many of them know about the latest exploits . This makes old software that hasn’t been updated a very attractive target. Make sure you keep all your software up to date by installing the latest patches and updates. This is a good way to reduce the chance of your software being exploited. If you need to run outdated software for testing purposes, consider isolating it on a separate virtual machine to prevent it from spreading to the rest of your network.

Be careful what you store in the VM

Many organizations are realizing that they use virtual machines for more than just test and development purposes. They also use them for production purposes . Although it may be tempting to store everything inside a virtual machine, this is not a good idea.

Your organization is likely to experience a breach at some point, so be selective about what you store in a virtual machine. Be careful with sensitive data hosted on a VM, as it is possible for it to be attacked. It’s easy to get into the habit of storing everything in a virtual machine. This can be a great way to centralize sensitive data in one place. But you have to be careful not to abuse this method.

Install a malware prevention tool

Malware prevention tools are a good way to block many attacks before they reach your virtual machines. These tools can help prevent attacks from malware that tries to take advantage of unprotected ports or virtual machine vulnerabilities. They can also prevent remote access software from allowing unauthorized users to access sensitive data.

Look for a malware prevention tool that is fully integrated into your virtual machine environment. This makes it easy for you to secure your network and protect your virtual machines from attacks . You should not implement these security measures after a virtual machine has been attacked. Doing so is like closing the barn door after the horse has run away. It is much better to take precautions before an attack occurs.

Don’t forget to make a backup.

Finally, you have to make a backup of the virtual machines, a backup or a snapshot. This way, if a machine is compromised, you can easily restore it to its previous state. It’s also a good idea to save old copies of virtual machines in case you need to refer back to data that was introduced in a previous version. You may also want to go back to an earlier version of a virtual machine from time to time if something isn’t working correctly in the latest version.

There are a variety of different ways to back up virtual machines, even the hypervisors themselves have features for it. The method you choose will depend on the size of your environment, the type of data being stored, and your budget. There are several cloud-based backup services that are cheap and easy to use, so you should consider these services. There are also more traditional local backup methods, even if that means following a protocol for a good backup policy.

What is Microsoft’s VBS?

Virtualization -Based Security (VBS) is a feature that enables organizations to protect critical resources and sensitive data on virtual machines by leveraging on-demand user identity and access management.

In simpler terms, VBS allows you to secure sensitive information on a VM by authenticating users based on their Active Directory (AD) identity . This means that a user’s AD credentials are used to log in to the VM instead of a username and password combination.

VBS isolates the VM from the physical host and ensures that the VM does not have access to the host’s hardware, network interfaces, the Hyper-V host itself, or the network to which the host is connected. This means that VBS can be leveraged to protect critical infrastructure from malicious activity within VMs. VBS also allows organizations to revoke access to VMs if an employee leaves the organization or is suspected of malicious activity.

What is HVCI?

Source: Microsoft

Hyper-V Virtual Computer Interface (HVCI) is used for secure remote access to virtual machines hosted on Hyper-V nodes. HVCI is a software interface that is installed on the Windows Server host. It can be used in conjunction with VBS to authenticate remote users and provide secure access to the VM based on their identities in AD.

HVCI is not a feature of Hyper-V; is a built-in feature in Windows that allows the host operating system to connect to a VM using a network protocol other than the Hyper-V virtual switch. HVCI can be used to connect to VMs in one of two ways:

  • Using a Remote Access Service (RAS) adapter and a VPN connection.
  • Using a passthrough adapter and a direct connection.

Advantages of integrating VBS and HVCI in Windows

As we have discussed earlier in this article, VBS and HVCI are two different features. However, when used together, they provide unique security benefits. Some of these advantages are:

  • Virtualization-enabled secure user authentication– This is the most important benefit of integrating VBS and HVCI into Windows. This feature allows organizations to authenticate their users based on their AD credentials and provide them with secure access to their sensitive data.
  • Allow secure access to sensitive virtual machines– VBS allows organizations to secure sensitive virtual machines by restricting their access to authenticated users only. This means that only AD users with the necessary permissions can access sensitive virtual machines.
  • More granular control over virtual resources based on user identity– With VBS and HVCI in Windows, organizations can grant access to specific virtual machines based on their AD user identity. For example, a sales team may have access to a specific virtual machine that contains data related to deals they are working on. Similarly, an HR team can access HR-related data on a different virtual machine.

Now you know more about Microsoft’s VBS and HVCI technology, and what you can use it for…


by Abdullah Sam
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