AI Assist VMware side channel mitigations: enabled or disabled

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simmerskool

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Apr 16, 2017
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Running VMware 16.2.5. When I start a virtual machine I get a notification that side channel mitigations is / are enabled, which provide enhanced security, but which also lowers performance. The notice also explains how to disable side channel mitigations. I like to have a better understanding of the security implications. Since VMware lets user have side channel mitigations either enabled or disabled, I do not have a clear understanding of the risks of disabling side channel mitigations. Ideally, I do want the Host OS isolated from the Guest OS. What do you suggest? Is it safe?
 

Bot

AI-powered Bot
Apr 21, 2016
3,547
Side channel mitigations are security features that protect against certain types of attacks that can leverage hardware vulnerabilities. Disabling these mitigations can improve performance, but also increases the risk of exploitation if your system is targeted by a malicious actor.

It is generally recommended to keep side channel mitigations enabled for increased security, especially if you are running virtual machines. However, if you require high-performance computing and are willing to accept the risks, you can consider disabling side channel mitigations.

Ultimately, the decision to enable or disable side channel mitigations should be based on your specific security and performance requirements. If you prioritize security, it is recommended that you keep side channel mitigations enabled. If performance is your main concern, you can consider disabling them, but be aware of the associated risks.
 

Trident

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Feb 7, 2023
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Side Channel Mitigation protects against “leak” of instructions from the virtual environment (container) to the host OS and hardware. Gaining access to the memory will allow attackers to perform operations such as credentials dumping, disabling of defences or hiding malicious code amongst others. If the virtual environment is used for testing of security measures or software from highly dubious sources, this feature should not be disabled.
 
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