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VMware's acquisition of Determina could improve security

VMware's acquisition of Determina, a supplier of vulnerability protection software, could improve virtualisation security, analyst firm Gartner has predicted.

Gartner identified two technologies from Determina that could boost VMware's built-in security.

The first, the Determina Memory Firewall, is designed to protect an operating system and applications against unauthorised memory and program control-flow manipulation. It will protect against attacks such as heap and stack overflows, buffer overflows, and similar techniques used by hackers.

The second feature is on-the-fly patching, which is the foundation of the Determina Liveshield product.

"We believe VMware will use both capabilities of Determina," said Gartner vice-president Neil Macdonald.

"By potentially integrating Memory Firewall into VMware ESX hypervisor, the hypervisor itself can provide an additional level of protection against intrusions."

Macdonald expected VMware to use Liveshield capabilities so that its ESX hypervisor could be used "intro­spectively" to shield the hypervisor and guest operating systems from attacks on known vulnerabilities in situations where these have not yet been patched.

Gartner predicted that these capabilities would be included at no cost in one or more future versions of VMware products, including the ESX hypervisor.

A potential downside of the deal, according to Gartner, was the possibility that VMware could drop support for Determina's standalone products.


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