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Virtual Machine and Virus

I am running a virtual machine on VirtualBox. Assuming that I have no shared folders between the host and guest OS, is the guest OS completely sandboxed? (eg I could fill that VM with horrible viruses/rootkits/malware and it could never affect my host OS?) Or is there some way for a program to detect that it is in a VM and escape to/cause damage to the host OS?

I'm running Windows 7, but I'm curious about the general case.

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marked as duplicate by Daniel Beck, Ivo Flipse Jan 23 '11 at 18:09

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
possible duplicate of Virtual Machine and Virus and this. –  Daniel Beck Jan 23 '11 at 18:05

2 Answers 2

Yes, it is totally sandboxed (With the exception @TuxRug mentions). There is no chance of anything infecting the host system. Unless, of course, there is some form of network sharing.

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Often not true, most VMs have options to mount folders or share network connections. –  Phoshi Jan 23 '11 at 18:04
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@Phoshi: My answer mentions that network shares could compromise the security of the system. –  Wuffers Jan 23 '11 at 18:05
    
Yes, it does now, pretty sure it didn't at first. Correct, +1! –  Phoshi Jan 23 '11 at 19:31
    
@Phoshi: Thanks for the upvote! –  Wuffers Jan 23 '11 at 19:33
    
The sandboxing is not always foolproof either. I don't know of any malware in the wild that exploits this vulnerability, but a black hat presentation recently revealed that through a glitch in the video driver VMware provides to Windows guests, a program in the guest can write to host memory. –  TuxRug Jan 23 '11 at 20:18

Have a look at some of these articles:

http://www.devx.com/vmspecialreport/Article/30377

The single most valuable feature of using a virtual machine for browsing is the undo capability. Microsoft implements this with its undo disks feature. The idea is simple: Whatever takes place in the guest machine, such as inadvertently downloading spyware, is written to another file instead of the principal virtual hard disk file where the OS and applications are installed. When the browsing session ends, the guest machine is turned off without saving any of the changes that occurred while it was running.

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http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/switcher-hangout/145853-vmware-virtual-machines-sandboxed.html

If by "sandboxed" you mean isolated from OS X, then the answer is yes. An example would be running XP in a VM and contracting a virus or some malware, that virus or malware could not effect OS X - or "leak out".

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