If I use a VM on a laptop which is connected to a work or public wifi, can the host machine be accessed by anyone also connected to wifi?

I'm thinking along the lines of if I were to use my laptop on a public or work wifi to connect either to the internet or to my home network. I'd be using a using a VPN so I'm reasonably confident that the VM connection to internet or home would be secure but what about the host?

The host is connected to the wifi as the guest VM is NAT'd using the host wifi connector so would anyone else on the same network be able to connect to the HDD?


  • 1
    Accessed in what way? Do you have SSH open on it or something? – forest Jan 24 at 21:23
  • Well, in the 'days of old' there was always the fairly unsecured HDD share which you can get in to C$ - that kind of thing. What I'm concerned with is access the the HDD by a third party...no SSH on the laptop unless this comes as default and to all intents and purposes it is a 'standard' Windows 10 laptop so no extras other than what it comes with... – cosmarchy Jan 24 at 21:45
  • 2
    I'm not sure I understand the question...whether someone on the local network can access your host is mostly tangential to whether it is running a VM. Are you worried that running a VM will somehow open a new path into the host that didn't exist previously? – tlng05 Jan 24 at 22:50
  • @tlng05 yes I'm concerned that there is underlying access to the host PC even though the VM is connected. I don't know whether there is any access to the host which exists via the network card as it is shared between the host and guest - the host connects to the wifi but it is the VM guest which uses this connection so unsure whether there is any parallel connection? – cosmarchy Jan 24 at 22:59
  • Under the default NAT adapter type, generally not. The VM will sit behind the host and the VM's traffic will appear to come from the host, so from the network's perspective the host is the only machine on the network. That changes if you were to switch it to a bridged adapter, which would cause the VM to act like an independent machine on the network. – tlng05 Jan 24 at 23:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.