Gunkerty Jeb writes "Side-channel attacks against cryptography keys have, until now, been limited to physical machines. Researchers have long made accurate determinations about crypto keys by studying anything from variations in power consumption to measuring how long it takes for a computation to complete. A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin, and RSA Security has ramped up the stakes, having proved in controlled conditions (PDF) that it's possible to steal a crypto key from a virtual machine. The implications for sensitive transactions carried out on public cloud infrastructures could be severe should an attacker land his malicious virtual machine on the same physical host as the victim. Research has already been conducted on how to map a cloud infrastructure and identify where a target virtual machine is likely to be."