Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


Enhance protection from security bugs in the Xen hypervisor

Introducing a deprivileged execution mode for device emulators in the hypervisor.

Security is on everyone's mind these days, software will always have bugs that can be exploited. In virtualisation, those bugs are more often found in device emulators and the hypervisor itself includes a few of those, for performance reason. How can we mitigate the severity of those bugs?

This presentation will talk about limiting the impact of bugs in device emulators by deprivileging their execution. Right now, they run with the same privileged as the rest of the Xen hypervisor, but we will show what we can do to execute these emulations in a deprivileged context.

This solution comes with a performance cost. We will learn the cost compared to the original and try to apply this to emulators that are either not used often or that takes much more time to execute than to switch to a deprivileged context.


Anthony Perard