Parallel and Distributed Systems Group

Computer Science Department of Telecom SudParis

A virtual machine introspection based architecture for intrusion detection

Reading group: Jean-françois Dumollard presented "A virtual machine introspection based architecture for intrusion detection" (NDSS'03) at 4A312 the 3/2/2023 at 10h00.


Today’s architectures for intrusion detection force the IDS designer to make a difficult choice. If the IDS resides on the host, it has an excellent view of what is happening in that host’s software, but is highly susceptible to attack. On the other hand, if the IDS resides in the network, it is more resistant to attack, but has a poor view of what is happening inside the host, making it more susceptible to evasion. In this paper we present an architecture that retains the visibility of a host-based IDS, but pulls the IDS outside of the host for greater attack resistance. We achieve this through the use of a virtual machine monitor. Using this approach allows us to isolate the IDS from the monitored host but still retain excellent visibility into the host’s state. The VMM also offers us the unique ability to completely mediate interactions between the host software and the underlying hardware. We present a detailed study of our architecture, including Livewire, a prototype implementation. We demonstrate Livewire by implementing a suite of simple intrusion detection policies and using them to detect real attacks.