Xen in Qubes OS Security Architecture

From Xen

This document describes the architecture of Qubes OS an open source operating system designed to provide strong security for desktop computing. Qubes is based on Xen, X Window System, and Linux, and can run most Linux applications and utilize most of the Linux drivers. In the future it might also run Windows apps.

Section 3 of this document contains a discussion of the security of the Xen hypervisor as well as KVM. For your convenience, we outlined the content of this section here

3. The hypervisor and the administrative domain

  • The role of the hypervisor
  • Xen vs. KVM security architecture comparison
    • The thin vs. fat hypervisor argument
    • The I/O Emulation vs. PV drivers
    • Driver domains support
    • Summary
  • Securing the hypervisor
    • Formal security proofs?
    • Reducing hypervisor footprint
    • Anti-exploitation mechanisms in the hypervisor
    • Reducing Inter-VM covert channels
  • The administrative domain (Dom0)
  • Power management and ACPI support
    • ACPI security concerns
    • Preventing ACPI abusing attacks