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Use Case Example: Creating Trusted Compute Pools and Workload Migration

Knowing the trust status of both the servers and the hypervisor highlighted the platform trust information to TWSE, as well as defined an appropriate set of operational policies and controls. The reference implementation demonstrated the operational details of the trusted compute pools use cases as follows:

• Creation of trusted compute pools

• Workload placement in the trusted compute pools

• Workload migration into the trusted compute pools

• Dashboard reporting with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator* (McAfee ePO*)

The HyTrust Appliance enabled the team to intercept all administrative requests for the virtual infrastructure, determine whether the request was in accordance with defined policy, permit or deny that request, and record all administrative access and change requests.

To apply effective end-to-end trust policies for the cloud infrastructure, the team did the following:

• Created trusted compute pools with Intel TXT

• Identified and labeled the sensitive workloads that required protection

• Configured the trust policies to establish trust requirements

• Assigned and managed workload migration based on defined trust polices

• Enforced trust policies end-to-end

• Recorded all activities, including audit, and compliance; and provided reports

Integrated and Extended Security and Platform Trust with McAfee ePO

A TWSE requirement was the integration and reporting of all security events and enforcement decisions to a SIEM and GRC system. This gave TWSE another common and aggregated management view of its cloud infrastructure. The PoC used the HyTrust Appliance to extend and integrate the trust information for each hypervisor and the virtualized resource functionality to the McAfee ePO console.

The direct integration of the HyTrust Appliance dashboard showed users the Intel TXT trust status of the host on which each VM was running. HyTrust Appliance assessed compliance by comparing a host's current configuration with a hardening configuration template that was customized based on TWSE requirements. It then provided assessment data to the master ePO dashboard for reporting and analysis. HyTrust Appliance gave McAfee ePO a record of all administrative activities, including a unique user ID, and operations attempted by the privileged user, including denied or failed attempts.

Figure 3-12 shows the aggregated view of trust within the McAfee ePO dashboard.

Figure 3-12. McAfee ePO displaying administrator activity and trust status captured by HyTrust Appliance

Figure 3-13 shows a drilldown view of the trust information in the McAfee ePO system as provided by the seamless integration between the HyTrust Appliance and the McAfee policy orchestrator.

Figure 3-13. McAfee ePO displaying a drilldown of the server trust status from the HyTrust Appliance

McAfee ePO's flexible automation capability streamlined the workflows, dramatically reducing the cost and complexity of security and compliance administration.

Intel TXT is a set of enhanced hardware components designed to protect sensitive information from software-based attacks. Intel TXT features include capabilities in the microprocessor, chipset, I/o subsystems, and other platform components. When coupled with an enabled operating system, hypervisor, and enabled applications, these capabilities provide confidentiality and integrity of data in a time of increasingly hostile environments.

Intel TXT incorporates a number of secure processing innovations (see figure 3-14), including:

Protected execution. lets applications run in isolated environments so that no unauthorized software on the platform can observe or tamper with the operational information. Each of these isolated environments executes with the use of dedicated resources managed by the platform.

Sealed storage. Provides the ability to encrypt and store keys, data, and other sensitive information within the hardware. This can be decrypted only by the same environment as encrypted it.

Attestation. Enables a system to provide assurance that the protected environment has been correctly invoked and takes a measurement of the software running in the protected space. The information exchanged during this process is known as the attestation identity key credential, and is used to establish mutual trust between parties.

Protected launch. Provides the controlled launch and registration of critical system software components in a protected execution environment.

Trusted extensions integrated into silicon (processor and chipset). Allow for the orderly quiescence of all activities on the platform such that a tamper-resistant environment is enabled for the measurement and verification processes; and allows for protection of platform secrets in the case of “reset” and other disruptive attacks.

Authenticated code modules (ACm). Authenticate platform-specific code to the chipset and execute in an isolated environment within the processor and the trusted environment (authenticated code mode) enabled by AC modules to perform secure tasks.

Figure 3-14. Intel Trusted Execution Technology components

Intel TXT Principles of Operation

Intel TXT works through the creation of a measured launch environment (mlE) enabling an accurate comparison of all the critical elements of the launch environment against a known-good source. Intel TXT creates a cryptographically unique identifier for each approved launch-enabled component and then provides a hardware-based enforcement mechanism to block the launch of the code that does not match that which is authenticated or, alternatively, indicates when an expected trusted launch has not happened. This hardware-based solution provides the foundation on which IT administrators can build trusted platform solutions to protect against aggressive software-based attacks and to better control their virtualized or cloud environments. figure 3-15 illustrates two different scenarios. In the first, the measurements match the expected values, so the launch of the BIos, firmware, and Vmm are allowed. In the second, the system has been compromised by a rootkit hypervisor, which has attempted to install itself below the hypervisor to gain access to the platform. In this case, the Intel TXT-enabled, mlE-calculated hash system measurements differ from the expected value, owing to the insertion of the rootkit. Therefore, the measured environment will not match the expected value and, based on the launch policy, Intel TXT could abort the launch of the hypervisor or report an untrusted launch into the virtualization or cloud management infrastructure for subsequent use.

Figure 3-15. How Intel Trusted Execution Technology protects the launch environment

Summary

In this chapter, we introduced the concept of platform boot integrity and trust. We covered the roots of trust in a trusted compute platform, and the two measured boot models, S-RTM and D-RTM. We introduced the concept of attestation as a critical requirement to assert the boot integrity, and presented the notion of trusted compute pools, including the use cases and the solution reference architecture for enabling trusted compute pools. By reviewing one solution stack and a reference implementation, we reinforced the concept and showed how to enable and use trusted compute pools. Platform trust is the new data center management attribute that can be used to orchestrate and manage the resources of virtualization and cloud data centers so as to meet the corresponding security challenges and requirements.

Looking ahead, Chapter 4 is a deep dive into attestation and view of a commercial implementation of a remote attestation software solution. In addition to platform trust and hardware roots of trust, more and more organizations and service providers are interested in providing visibility of and control to the physical location of the servers where the workloads and data are actually residing and executing. These controls are critical for federal agencies and regulated industries. Chapter 5 will introduce a new concept and control called hardware-assisted asset tag, which can be used to provide isolation, segregation, placement, and migration control of workload execution in multitenant cloud environments. Additionally, as a specialization of asset tags, geolocation/ geotagging can be enabled to definitively provide visibility of the physical geolocation of the server, which can enable many controls that requirement hardware-based roots of trust to assert the location of the workloads and data. These attributes and the associated controls are dependent on the assertion of the boot integrity of the platform, and hence they become a great adjacency to trusted compute pools and boot integrity.

 
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