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Whilst pondering about security, and setting up different VM for certain online activities deemed more risky or requiring extra security (banking, or visiting untrusted websites, etc), I came to think about how such a setup (different VMs for different uses) would defend me against a keylogger.

So, two questions then:

1: If a keylogger has been installed inside a VM, can it capture data outside its own VM?

2: The opposite, does a keylogger in a host capture strokes typed within a VM residing in that host?

My bet would be No and Yes respectively, but I really have no idea. Anyone else does?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. No

  2. Yes

A keylogger runs as software or driver within the machine, it will be limited to the virtual machine it is on.

If the keylogger is installed on a host, it will capture all data on the host. It is possible that some virtualisation software has its own hook that overwrites the keylogger, but I doubt it.

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Thanks, that makes sense and it's what I thought it would happen. –  paranoid Sep 24 '10 at 11:50

There is always a chance that there are vulnerabilities in the virtualization software. This in turn could allow malicious software to "escape" into the host OS:

http://secunia.com/advisories/18162/

So the answer would then be: 1. Possible 2. Yes

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Nice finding =S, good to know –  HappyDeveloper May 27 '12 at 1:30

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