S5E13: "Who Watches the Hypervisors?"

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Recorded (UTC) Aired (UTC) Editor
2020-08-06 02:32:33 2020-08-16 00:13:42 "Edita"
Format SHA256 GPG Audio File
MP3 e4883db8f7c54282b1da028580e305ff00b5d7f02c42d9ce373b307a5f4a19d8 click click
OGG 5d34ca0bfa719322442208bafe33f60ca2f6a595052fe1c4a64ec96c69f6672f click click

We talk about the issues present in trying to keep security, privacy, and integrity for data-at-rest on hardware that you don’t own.

Just the Tip

  • Paden wants to remind you to actually check to make sure your backups are working.


Starts at 14m31s.

I was drinking water. Paden was drinking 2% milk. Jthan was drinking Corona.

  • How can you guarantee privacy and integrity of a volume on e.g. a VPS provider?
    • You can’t! Not perfectly, anyways.
    • If a malicious party has access to the hardware or hypervisor level, there are many opportunities for tampering or even outright breaking your expectations of disk encryption.
    • Hardware:
      • A lot of the issues present here are considered Evil Maid attacks.
      • You need plaintext somewhere in the booting process. (This applies to any full-disk encryption including VPS/VMs. Or, technically, any disk encryption.)
    • Hypervisors:
      • Access to the above and more – direct virtual console access, they control the kernel for paravirt, etc.
      • Hosts can also affect character devices (direct input flow, etc.)
    • You can check for integrity/tampering a little more reliably than preventing data leaking; Arch has a package in the AUR that serves as a good starting point.
      • Remote audit logs to a device only you/your org controls can help a lot as well.

15 Clams

In this segment, Jthan shares with you a little slice of life. The title is a reference to this video. (2m16s in)

Starts at 54m40s.

Jthan talks about remotely unlocking a LUKS FDE.


  • Paden was talking about this comic.
  • Jthan, in his pursuit of glorifying The Cloud™ instead of a VM lab, doesn’t understand why 640+MB > 512MB.
    • He also doesn’t understand that following processes verbatim teach nothing.
    • He also doesn’t know how to read. This says 530 MB RAM as the minimum, not 512 MB. (Plus the inherent overhead you’d have with ZoL.)
    • Also speaking of, the August release of the Arch installation ISO is 671MB, not 640-something.
  • Jthan says to not FDE your router, but you absolutely can. There’s nothing stopping you from remotely unlocking your full-box router (see the link in 15 Clams).


Music Credits
Track Title Artist Link Copyright/License
Intro Boh TNKS click CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0
Outro Navidub The Dubbstyle click CC-BY-ND 4.0
(All music is royalty-free, properly licensed for use, used under fair use, or public domain.)



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