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Creating Virtual Isolated Networks

Nice article, originally seen at Doug's site and a snippet of the article:

Most recently, I’ve been feeling the itch to write a worm. The idea is attractive because a worm can be developed modularly with reusable components. Each individual component will increase my knowledge substantially in a different area of security, making the development a measurable goal with incremental positive feedback.

However, before development could begin, I wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t end up in court for an accidental release of one of the components gone awry. I love virtual machines as a tool to aid in the development process, so the solution was immediately obvious - create a multi-host virtual network that is isolated from the world. Further, I wanted each machine on this isolated network to occasionally be able to access the Internet to retrieve updates or tools, so the isolation needed to be complete but /controllable./ The final requirements of the virtual network ended up looking like this:

  • Isolated network except when explicitly given access to the Internet
  • Multiple hosts with different operating systems
  • Must be able to easily add and remove hosts
  • All hosts on the network must both default and fail to isolation

The way to implement this using VMWare Workstation (and I’m sure other products in their virtualization line) is to utilize teams. Teams are a ‘wrapper’ of a sort that encompass multiple VMs with additional configuration. When you start a team, each virtual machine included in the team’s configuration is also started. The team can be configured to also provide a virtual network segment for the virtual machines to use, which when paired with each VM in the team being configured with ‘host only’ network access, results in a virtual isolated network.

Nice one there...


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