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I run W7 64-bit with windows firewall + MSE running, and there is a firewall on my router also. I want to run a VM (probably using VirtualPC which comes free) but I'm unclear if this is guarded by the host PC, or if I need to run full firewall+AV on every VM?

Thanks for any help.

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3 Answers 3

You might want to have some antivirus protection depending on what you intend to use the VM for, Light usage you will probably be ok

If you are using the VM for a server however you should probably install antivirus and a software firewall.

Virtual machines are subject to many of the same vulnerabilities as operating systems installed on actual hardware. Secure each virtual machine as if it was a physical computer.

There is a discussion on the VM Ware forums about this issue you might want to read into. http://communities.vmware.com/thread/140056

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Do I need anti-malware software and/or firewall on a VM?

Yes, most likely, you do. Unless the data in that VM is irrelevant.

Is my VM protected by the software on my host machine?

Most likely not. Depending on your virtual networking setup, it is possible that your host acts as a router for your virtual network. Then you wouldn't need an extra firewall for your VM (unless you need firewalling on an application-level).

Your hosts anti-virus software won't protect your VM.

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"Unless the data in that VM is irrelevant" so if for instance I am only using the VM as a thin-client to access another PC via RDP, it's not a risk to the remote PC or my physical PC if the VM gets infected? –  John Jun 25 '12 at 12:39
    
@John: The protection of that remote PC is the business of whoever administers the remote PC. –  Oliver Salzburg Jun 25 '12 at 12:49
    
Yes however it's -at best- bad manners to knowingly connect using a compromised client –  John Jun 25 '12 at 16:50

There are many advantage to running an OS in a VM like you are doing; that is, as long as you have the "horse power" to run the additional OS.

I would simply keep a couple of backups of the virtual drive that you are using. If you get a virus of some kind, spyware, etc. it's going to be isolated to what's going on in the VM. I think you will be more satisfied with that then trying to keep an anti-virus and firewall going on that OS inside the VM.

The additional overhead and upkeep of having an that anti-virus and firewall will be counterproductive.

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