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Wednesday, 26 May 2021 10:38

VMware issues patch to fix remotely exploitable flaw in vCenter Server Featured

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VMware issues patch to fix remotely exploitable flaw in vCenter Server Image by 政徳 吉田 from Pixabay

Cloud, networking and security provider VMware has released details of, and a patch to fix, a vulnerability in its vCenter Server which is used for managing virtualisation in big data centres.

The vulnerability was given a rating of 9.8 and affects versions 6.5, 6.7 and 7.0 of the vCenter Server product.

vCenter Server functions as an administration portal for vSphere and ESXI, which are widely used virtualisation products.

The advisory cited two issues; a remote code execution flaw in the vSAN plugin which is part of vCenter Server. The second issue was connected to improvements made to the product's plugin framework to enforce authentication and this affected some plugins and also caused some third-party plugins to stop functioning.

Tenable senior research engineer Claire Tills told iTWire the vulnerability affected the vSphere Client.

"To exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would need to be able to access vCenter Server over port 443 in the firewall. Even if an organisation has not exposed vCenter Server externally, attackers can still exploit this flaw once inside a network," she said.

"In a rare move, VMware published a blog post calling out ransomware groups as being adept at leveraging flaws like this post-compromise, after having gained access to a network via other means such as spearphishing.

"With ransomware dominating the news, this context is important and reinforces VMware's assertion that patching these flaws should be a top priority. Successful exploitation would allow an attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the underlying vCenter host.

"VMware also patched CVE-2021-21986, which is an authentication mechanism issue found in several vCenter Server Plug-ins and was assigned a CVSSv3 score of 6.5, making it moderately severe."

Tills said VMware had provided patches for both flaws and advised organisations using vCenter Servers to act immediately.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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