As with physical network adapters, a virtual machine network adapter can send frames that appear to be from a different machine or impersonate another machine so that it can receive network frames that are intended for that machine. Also, like physical network adapters, a virtual machine network adapter can be configured so that it receives frames targeted for other machines. Both scenarios present a security risk.

When you create a standard switch for your network, you add port groups in the vSphere Web Client to impose a policy for the virtual machines and VMkernel adapters for system traffic attached to the switch.

As part of adding a VMkernel port group or virtual machine port group to a standard switch, ESXi configures a security policy for the ports in the group. You can use this security policy to ensure that the host prevents the guest operating systems of its virtual machines from impersonating other machines on the network. This security feature is implemented so that the guest operating system responsible for the impersonation does not detect that the impersonation was prevented.

The security policy determines how strongly you enforce protection against impersonation and interception attacks on virtual machines. To correctly use the settings in the security profile, you must understand how virtual machine network adapters control transmissions and how attacks are staged at this level. See the Security Policy section in the vSphere Networking publication.