All current Oracle SPARC systems include a built-in system controller (ILOM), which has the following capabilities:
Manages basic environmental controls such as fan speed and chassis power
Enables firmware upgrades
Provides the system console for the control domain
You can access the ILOM through a serial connection or use SSH, HTTP, HTTPS, SNMP, or IPMI to access it through a network port. The Fujitsu M10 systems use XSCF instead of ILOM to perform similar functions.
An attacker that gains control of the ILOM can compromise the system in many ways, including the following:
Removing power from all running guests
Installing manipulated firmware to gain access to at least one guest domain
These scenarios apply to any system that has such a controller device. In a virtualized environment, the damage can be that much greater than in a physical environment because many domains that are housed in the same system enclosure are at risk.
Likewise, an attacker that gains control over the control domain or an I/O domain can easily disable all dependent guest domains by shutting down the corresponding I/O services.
While the ILOM is usually connected to an administrative network, you can also access the ILOM from the control domain by using IPMI with the BMC access module. As a result, both of these connection types should be well protected and isolated from normal production networks.
Likewise, an attacker can breach a service domain from the network or through an error in the virtualization stack, and then block guest I/O or perform a system shutdown. While the damage is limited as data is neither lost nor compromised, the damage can affect a large number of guest domains. So, ensure that you protect against the possibility of this threat to limit the potential damage.
As the system service processor, the ILOM controls critical features such as chassis power, Oracle VM Server for SPARC startup configurations, and console access to the control domain. The following measures enable you to secure the ILOM:
Placing the ILOM's network port in a network segment that is separate from the administrative network, which is used for the domains in the execution environment.
Disabling all services that are not required for operation, such as HTTP, IPMI, SNMP, HTTPS, and SSH.
Configuring dedicated and personal administrator accounts that grant only the required rights. To maximize accountability of the actions taken by administrators, ensure that you create personal administrator accounts. This type of access is especially important for console access, firmware upgrades, and managing startup configurations.