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Cyber Security for Virtualisation Systems

Module Tutor: Peter Norris

Description

This module considers the cyber security consequences of virtualised systems and the opportunities that they offer. Focusing on software containerisation systems such as Docker, and comparing their properties with other virtualisation tools and techniques, the course looks at the trust relationships and the available security controls between the underlying operating system, the container, or other virtualised environment, and the software executing within the container.

Students on the module will explore the consequences of the fact that all software executes in some context and in some sort of container. It may be as an app on a mobile device, it may be the operating system on a laptop, it may be a virtual device hosted on the cloud, or it could be an embedded system. It is the container and the context that determine what a program does and what resources it can access. Getting this regulation correct is a significant challenge, giving away just enough resource to get the job done but limiting the resource to prevent additional undesirable things being possible.

The module provides students with practical experience of containerisation systems together with the insights necessary to think clearly about them in the context of cyber security. The course will equip them with the understanding they need to be able to hold meaningful conversations with experts in the field and will allow them to more effectively contribute to informed decision-making about cyber security.

Principal Learning Outcomes

  • Reason about the security relationships between a virtualised container and sibling containers or the underlying host.
  • Configure a virtualised container ecosystem such as Docker to achieve the desired security properties from the perspective of both the container and the underlying host.

Duration

5 days

Method of Assessment

Post module assignment (100%)