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VMware opens its products to security apps

Come on in, the hypervisor's fine

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VMware has announced a way to better protect its products against malware by allowing third-party security programs to access key parts of a virtualised environment.

VMsafe is the name the company has given to a set of application program interfaces (APIs) that security vendors can use to integrate their products into the VMware hypervisor. McAfee, Symantec, and 18 other companies have already committed to building products that will work with the specifications.

VMware's announcement on Wednesday came two days after researchers documented a bug in several VMware desktop virtualization products that could allow attackers to gain complete control of the underlying system. VMware made no reference to the research, but it's not hard to imagine its release played a role in the timing of the announcement.

In essence, VMsafe provides a way for security programs to monitor the memory, CPU, disk and I/O systems of a virtual machine. It's also designed to enable the programs to stop malicious code from inflicting damage on guest operating systems.

No word yet when any of these third-party apps will be ready. ®

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