Firecracker: Secure and Fast MicroVMs for Serverless Computing

Our mission is to enable secure, multi-tenant, minimal-overhead execution of container and function workloads.

Read more about the Firecracker Charter here.

What is Firecracker?

Firecracker is an open source virtualization technology that is purpose-built for creating and managing secure, multi-tenant container and function-based services that provide serverless operational models. Firecracker runs workloads in lightweight virtual machines, called microVMs, which combine the security and isolation properties provided by hardware virtualization technology with the speed and flexibility of containers.

Overview

The main component of Firecracker is a virtual machine monitor (VMM) that uses the Linux Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM) to create and run microVMs. Firecracker has a minimalist design. It excludes unnecessary devices and guest-facing functionality to reduce the memory footprint and attack surface area of each microVM. This improves security, decreases the startup time, and increases hardware utilization. Firecracker has also been integrated in container runtimes, for example Kata Containers and Weaveworks Ignite.

Firecracker was developed at Amazon Web Services to accelerate the speed and efficiency of services like AWS Lambda and AWS Fargate. Firecracker is open sourced under Apache version 2.0.

To read more about Firecracker, check out firecracker-microvm.io.

Getting Started

To get started with Firecracker, download the latest release binaries or build it from source.

You can build Firecracker on any Unix/Linux system that has Docker running (we use a development container) and bash installed, as follows:

git clone https://github.com/firecracker-microvm/firecracker
cd firecracker
tools/devtool build
toolchain="$(uname -m)-unknown-linux-musl"

The Firecracker binary will be placed at build/cargo_target/${toolchain}/debug/firecracker. For more information on building, testing, and running Firecracker, go to the quickstart guide.

The overall security of Firecracker microVMs, including the ability to meet the criteria for safe multi-tenant computing, depends on a well configured Linux host operating system. A configuration that we believe meets this bar is included in the production host setup document.

Contributing

Firecracker is already running production workloads within AWS, but it's still Day 1 on the journey guided by our mission. There's a lot more to build and we welcome all contributions.

To contribute to Firecracker, check out the development setup section in the getting started guide and then the Firecracker contribution guidelines.

Releases

New Firecracker versions are released via the GitHub repository releases page, typically every two or three months. A history of changes is recorded in our changelog.

The Firecracker release policy is detailed here.

Design

Firecracker's overall architecture is described in the design document.

Features & Capabilities

Firecracker consists of a single micro Virtual Machine Manager process that exposes an API endpoint to the host once started. The API is specified in OpenAPI format. Read more about it in the API docs.

The API endpoint can be used to:

  • Configure the microvm by:
    • Setting the number of vCPUs (the default is 1).
    • Setting the memory size (the default is 128 MiB).
    • [x86_64 only] Choosing a CPU template (currently, C3, T2 and T2S are available).
  • Add one or more network interfaces to the microVM.
  • Add one or more read-write or read-only disks to the microVM, each represented by a file-backed block device.
  • Trigger a block device re-scan while the guest is running. This enables the guest OS to pick up size changes to the block device's backing file.
  • Change the backing file for a block device, before or after the guest boots.
  • Configure rate limiters for virtio devices which can limit the bandwidth, operations per second, or both.
  • Configure the logging and metric system.
  • [BETA] Configure the data tree of the guest-facing metadata service. The service is only available to the guest if this resource is configured.
  • Add a vsock socket to the microVM.
  • Start the microVM using a given kernel image, root file system, and boot arguments.
  • [x86_64 only] Stop the microVM.

Built-in Capabilities:

  • Demand fault paging and CPU oversubscription enabled by default.
  • Advanced, thread-specific seccomp filters for enhanced security.
  • Jailer process for starting Firecracker in production scenarios; applies a cgroup/namespace isolation barrier and then drops privileges.

Supported platforms

We continuously test Firecracker on machines with the following CPUs micro-architectures: Intel Skylake, Intel Cascade Lake, AMD Zen2 and ARM64 Neoverse N1.

Firecracker is generally available on Intel x86_64, AMD x86_64 and ARM64 CPUs (starting from release v0.24) that offer hardware virtualization support, and that are released starting with 2015. All production use cases should follow these production host setup instructions.

Firecracker may work on other x86 and Arm 64-bit CPUs with support for hardware virtualization, but any such platform is currently not supported and not fit for production. If you want to run Firecracker on such platforms, please open a feature request.

Firecracker currently only supports little-endian platforms. Firecracker will not compile for big-endian architectures, and will not work correctly with big-endian configured guests.

Supported kernels

For a list of supported host/guest kernels and future kernel related plans, check out our kernel support policy.

Known issues and Limitations

  • The SendCtrlAltDel API request is not supported for aarch64 enabled microVMs.
  • Configuring CPU templates is only supported for Intel enabled microVMs.
  • The pl031 RTC device on aarch64 does not support interrupts, so guest programs which use an RTC alarm (e.g. hwclock) will not work.

Performance

Firecracker's performance characteristics are listed as part of the specification documentation. All specifications are a part of our commitment to supporting container and function workloads in serverless operational models, and are therefore enforced via continuous integration testing.

Policy for Security Disclosures

The security of Firecracker is our top priority. If you suspect you have uncovered a vulnerability, contact us privately, as outlined in our security policy document; we will immediately prioritize your disclosure.

FAQ & Contact

Frequently asked questions are collected in our FAQ doc.

You can get in touch with the Firecracker community in the following ways:

When communicating within the Firecracker community, please mind our code of conduct.


Download Details:

Author: firecracker-microvm
Source code: https://github.com/firecracker-microvm/firecracker

License: Apache-2.0 license

#linux #rust 

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Firecracker: Secure and Fast MicroVMs for Serverless Computing
Wilford  Pagac

Wilford Pagac

1596789120

Best Custom Web & Mobile App Development Company

Everything around us has become smart, like smart infrastructures, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, to name a few. The innovation of smart devices makes it possible to achieve these heights in science and technology. But, data is vulnerable, there is a risk of attack by cybercriminals. To get started, let’s know about IoT devices.

What are IoT devices?

The Internet Of Things(IoT) is a system that interrelates computer devices like sensors, software, and actuators, digital machines, etc. They are linked together with particular objects that work through the internet and transfer data over devices without humans interference.

Famous examples are Amazon Alexa, Apple SIRI, Interconnected baby monitors, video doorbells, and smart thermostats.

How could your IoT devices be vulnerable?

When technologies grow and evolve, risks are also on the high stakes. Ransomware attacks are on the continuous increase; securing data has become the top priority.

When you think your smart home won’t fudge a thing against cybercriminals, you should also know that they are vulnerable. When cybercriminals access our smart voice speakers like Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri, it becomes easy for them to steal your data.

Cybersecurity report 2020 says popular hacking forums expose 770 million email addresses and 21 million unique passwords, 620 million accounts have been compromised from 16 hacked websites.

The attacks are likely to increase every year. To help you secure your data of IoT devices, here are some best tips you can implement.

Tips to secure your IoT devices

1. Change Default Router Name

Your router has the default name of make and model. When we stick with the manufacturer name, attackers can quickly identify our make and model. So give the router name different from your addresses, without giving away personal information.

2. Know your connected network and connected devices

If your devices are connected to the internet, these connections are vulnerable to cyber attacks when your devices don’t have the proper security. Almost every web interface is equipped with multiple devices, so it’s hard to track the device. But, it’s crucial to stay aware of them.

3. Change default usernames and passwords

When we use the default usernames and passwords, it is attackable. Because the cybercriminals possibly know the default passwords come with IoT devices. So use strong passwords to access our IoT devices.

4. Manage strong, Unique passwords for your IoT devices and accounts

Use strong or unique passwords that are easily assumed, such as ‘123456’ or ‘password1234’ to protect your accounts. Give strong and complex passwords formed by combinations of alphabets, numeric, and not easily bypassed symbols.

Also, change passwords for multiple accounts and change them regularly to avoid attacks. We can also set several attempts to wrong passwords to set locking the account to safeguard from the hackers.

5. Do not use Public WI-FI Networks

Are you try to keep an eye on your IoT devices through your mobile devices in different locations. I recommend you not to use the public WI-FI network to access them. Because they are easily accessible through for everyone, you are still in a hurry to access, use VPN that gives them protection against cyber-attacks, giving them privacy and security features, for example, using Express VPN.

6. Establish firewalls to discover the vulnerabilities

There are software and firewalls like intrusion detection system/intrusion prevention system in the market. This will be useful to screen and analyze the wire traffic of a network. You can identify the security weakness by the firewall scanners within the network structure. Use these firewalls to get rid of unwanted security issues and vulnerabilities.

7. Reconfigure your device settings

Every smart device comes with the insecure default settings, and sometimes we are not able to change these default settings configurations. These conditions need to be assessed and need to reconfigure the default settings.

8. Authenticate the IoT applications

Nowadays, every smart app offers authentication to secure the accounts. There are many types of authentication methods like single-factor authentication, two-step authentication, and multi-factor authentication. Use any one of these to send a one time password (OTP) to verify the user who logs in the smart device to keep our accounts from falling into the wrong hands.

9. Update the device software up to date

Every smart device manufacturer releases updates to fix bugs in their software. These security patches help us to improve our protection of the device. Also, update the software on the smartphone, which we are used to monitoring the IoT devices to avoid vulnerabilities.

10. Track the smartphones and keep them safe

When we connect the smart home to the smartphone and control them via smartphone, you need to keep them safe. If you miss the phone almost, every personal information is at risk to the cybercriminals. But sometimes it happens by accident, makes sure that you can clear all the data remotely.

However, securing smart devices is essential in the world of data. There are still cybercriminals bypassing the securities. So make sure to do the safety measures to avoid our accounts falling out into the wrong hands. I hope these steps will help you all to secure your IoT devices.

If you have any, feel free to share them in the comments! I’d love to know them.

Are you looking for more? Subscribe to weekly newsletters that can help your stay updated IoT application developments.

#iot #enterprise iot security #how iot can be used to enhance security #how to improve iot security #how to protect iot devices from hackers #how to secure iot devices #iot security #iot security devices #iot security offerings #iot security technologies iot security plus #iot vulnerable devices #risk based iot security program

Serverless Applications - Pros and Cons to Help Businesses Decide - Prismetric

In the past few years, especially after Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced its Lambda platform, serverless architecture became the business realm’s buzzword. The increasing popularity of serverless applications saw market leaders like Netflix, Airbnb, Nike, etc., adopting the serverless architecture to handle their backend functions better. Moreover, serverless architecture’s market size is expected to reach a whopping $9.17 billion by the year 2023.

Global_Serverless_Architecture_Market_2019-2023

Why use serverless computing?
As a business it is best to approach a professional mobile app development company to build apps that are deployed on various servers; nevertheless, businesses should understand that the benefits of the serverless applications lie in the possibility it promises ideal business implementations and not in the hype created by cloud vendors. With the serverless architecture, the developers can easily code arbitrary codes on-demand without worrying about the underlying hardware.

But as is the case with all game-changing trends, many businesses opt for serverless applications just for the sake of being up-to-date with their peers without thinking about the actual need of their business.

The serverless applications work well with stateless use cases, the cases which execute cleanly and give the next operation in a sequence. On the other hand, the serverless architecture is not fit for predictable applications where there is a lot of reading and writing in the backend system.

Another benefit of working with the serverless software architecture is that the third-party service provider will charge based on the total number of requests. As the number of requests increases, the charge is bound to increase, but then it will cost significantly less than a dedicated IT infrastructure.

Defining serverless software architecture
In serverless software architecture, the application logic is implemented in an environment where operating systems, servers, or virtual machines are not visible. Although where the application logic is executed is running on any operating system which uses physical servers. But the difference here is that managing the infrastructure is the soul of the service provider and the mobile app developer focuses only on writing the codes.

There are two different approaches when it comes to serverless applications. They are

Backend as a service (BaaS)
Function as a service (FaaS)

  1. Backend as a service (BaaS)
    The basic required functionality of the growing number of third party services is to provide server-side logic and maintain their internal state. This requirement has led to applications that do not have server-side logic or any application-specific logic. Thus they depend on third-party services for everything.

Moreover, other examples of third-party services are Autho, AWS Cognito (authentication as a service), Amazon Kinesis, Keen IO (analytics as a service), and many more.

  1. Function as a Service (FaaS)
    FaaS is the modern alternative to traditional architecture when the application still requires server-side logic. With Function as a Service, the developer can focus on implementing stateless functions triggered by events and can communicate efficiently with the external world.

FaaS serverless architecture is majorly used with microservices architecture as it renders everything to the organization. AWS Lambda, Google Cloud functions, etc., are some of the examples of FaaS implementation.

Pros of Serverless applications
There are specific ways in which serverless applications can redefine the way business is done in the modern age and has some distinct advantages over the traditional could platforms. Here are a few –

🔹 Highly Scalable
The flexible nature of the serverless architecture makes it ideal for scaling the applications. The serverless application’s benefit is that it allows the vendor to run each of the functions in separate containers, allowing optimizing them automatically and effectively. Moreover, unlike in the traditional cloud, one doesn’t need to purchase a certain number of resources in serverless applications and can be as flexible as possible.

🔹 Cost-Effective
As the organizations don’t need to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on hardware, they don’t need to pay anything to the engineers to maintain the hardware. The serverless application’s pricing model is execution based as the organization is charged according to the executions they have made.

The company that uses the serverless applications is allotted a specific amount of time, and the pricing of the execution depends on the memory required. Different types of costs like presence detection, access authorization, image processing, etc., associated with a physical or virtual server is completely eliminated with the serverless applications.

🔹 Focuses on user experience
As the companies don’t always think about maintaining the servers, it allows them to focus on more productive things like developing and improving customer service features. A recent survey says that about 56% of the users are either using or planning to use the serverless applications in the coming six months.

Moreover, as the companies would save money with serverless apps as they don’t have to maintain any hardware system, it can be then utilized to enhance the level of customer service and features of the apps.

🔹 Ease of migration
It is easy to get started with serverless applications by porting individual features and operate them as on-demand events. For example, in a CMS, a video plugin requires transcoding video for different formats and bitrates. If the organization wished to do this with a WordPress server, it might not be a good fit as it would require resources dedicated to serving pages rather than encoding the video.

Moreover, the benefits of serverless applications can be used optimally to handle metadata encoding and creation. Similarly, serverless apps can be used in other plugins that are often prone to critical vulnerabilities.

Cons of serverless applications
Despite having some clear benefits, serverless applications are not specific for every single use case. We have listed the top things that an organization should keep in mind while opting for serverless applications.

🔹 Complete dependence on third-party vendor
In the realm of serverless applications, the third-party vendor is the king, and the organizations have no options but to play according to their rules. For example, if an application is set in Lambda, it is not easy to port it into Azure. The same is the case for coding languages. In present times, only Python developers and Node.js developers have the luxury to choose between existing serverless options.

Therefore, if you are planning to consider serverless applications for your next project, make sure that your vendor has everything needed to complete the project.

🔹 Challenges in debugging with traditional tools
It isn’t easy to perform debugging, especially for large enterprise applications that include various individual functions. Serverless applications use traditional tools and thus provide no option to attach a debugger in the public cloud. The organization can either do the debugging process locally or use logging for the same purpose. In addition to this, the DevOps tools in the serverless application do not support the idea of quickly deploying small bits of codes into running applications.

#serverless-application #serverless #serverless-computing #serverless-architeture #serverless-application-prosand-cons

Ida  Nader

Ida Nader

1602963300

Cloud Security: Is it Worth it?

Storing and managing corporate data by applying the cloud is becoming more and more popular. Companies grow, and it gets too expensive, and resources consuming to store their data on traditional servers. To prove it, look at the research conducted by Google in 2019 that includes insights for the cloud computing market for the next 10 years.

Around 80% of US respondents (about 1,100 businesses participated) revealed that they are thinking about cloud adoption by 2029. In 2019, only about 40% made a switch. 72% of businesses state that they’d like to automate security solutions by 2029, while now only 33% actually do it.

What do these numbers tell us? That companies seem to be suspicious about cloud security and prefer traditional on-premises data storage to the cloud environment. Why are they afraid to entrust cloud providers with their data? What to do to get rid of this fear? How to prove that the future of security is after the cloud?

In our article, we aim to answer these questions and more, but first, you need to be able to identify the reasons why companies have cloud-related trust issues. The first step in eliminating a problem is identifying it, let’s do it together!

#cloud-security #security-of-data #cybersecurity #cloud-computing #aws-security #azure-security #data-breaches #cyber-security

Thurman  Mills

Thurman Mills

1624696560

Serverless Computing vs Cloud Computing

See the definitions of serverless computing and cloud computing and explore the peculiarities and pros and cons of each one.

The abundance of terms makes you feel confused and wonder how to differentiate one concept from another. The statistics show that people aren’t aware of these terms. Only one of the four customers may thoroughly explain the difference between cloud computing vs serverless.

This article will define the terms and briefly explain the peculiarities of each one.

Cloud Computing and Its Main Features

Let’s start with defining the term cloud computing. Generally speaking, this phrase is used when we talk about the data centers available to many users all over the Internet. Basically, it saves the space of your computer’s hard drive as it stores the data over the net.

The funny thing is that this term can be explained in various ways by different people. Some describe it as a bought-in computer service, while others view it as IT outsourcing. Still, we all use it on a regular basis even though the majority of us don’t think about it.

For instance, when you prepare a document over the net, or write web-based emails, or type a query into Google. All these cases are examples of cloud computing and show that it is inevitable nowadays. Moreover, it has plenty of advantages as it helps to lower IT costs, scale more easily, and improve agility.

There are three main types of cloud computing:

  • IaaS
  • PaaS
  • SaaS

Well, as you can see, this term isn’t as complicated as it seems. But what is serverless, and how does it work?

#cloud #cloud computing #serverless #serverless computing

What is Serverless Computing? | Serverless Saturday

In this Serverless Saturday video, we’ll be going over “What is Serverless Computing?”
In the next video, we’ll be going over how to create your first serverless function on AWS Lambda!

Some resources:
Serverless on AWS: https://aws.amazon.com/serverless/
Serverless on Azure: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/serverless/
Serverless on GCP: https://cloud.google.com/serverless

#serverless computing #lamda #aws #computing #serverless saturday