[PetiteCloud] "Red pills" and "blue pills"

Dee Nixon dnixon-fnre at nyclocal.net
Thu Mar 20 16:26:30 PDT 2014

We've been using the terms "red pill" and "blue pill", as derived
from the movie "The Matrix":


In our context, PetiteCloud aims to make virtual machines as
indistinguishable as possible from physical machines.  Thus, the
design of PetiteCloud aims to minimize "red pills," i.e. means by
which something running on a virtual machine can detect that it's
running on a virtual machine.  In particular, PetiteCloud does not
support those hypervisors, such as Xen, that REQUIRE modifications
to the guest operating system, since such modifications are a
blatant "red pill."

One benefit of avoiding "red pills" is security.  If there is
malware running on a virtual machine, an absence of "red pills"
would prevent the malware from doing damage to the host machine. 
Unfortunately, a total absence of "red pills" is impossible.

A couple of months ago, I read a bunch of articles online that used
the term "red pill" in this very context:  malware that used "red
pills" to defeat antivirus R&D which was being done on virtual
machines to protect the host machine.  In that context, "blue pills"
were good, as a means of fooling the malware.

Just now I tried to find those articles again via Google and
couldn't.  Instead I found a bunch of articles about "blue pills" in
a bad sense:  malware which, itself, acts as a hypervisor beneath a
computer's own operating system.  In that context, "red pills" are
desirable, to detect said malware.  The articles I found using the
terms "red pill" and "blue pill" in this sense are apparently not
new, but, for whatever reason, seem to have suddenly become more
prominent in terms of Google search engine rankings within the past
couple of months.

When I mentioned this to Aryeh, he now thinks we should stop using
the terms "red pill" and "blue pill" on the PetiteCloud website.


More information about the petitecloud-general mailing list