VMware Fixes Privilege Escalation Flaw

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 @ 03:01 PM gHale

VMware patched a guest privilege escalation vulnerability in VMware Tools.

VMware Tools includes utilities designed to enhance the performance of the virtual machine (VM) guest operating system and improve VM management.

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Dmitry Janushkevich from the Secunia Research Team discovered the Shared Folders (HGFS) feature running on Windows suffers from a memory corruption flaw (CVE-2015-6933) that can end up exploited by an attacker to escalate their privileges in the guest operating system.

VMware said the vulnerability cannot end up exploited to escalate privileges from the guest operating system to the host, and host memory cannot end up manipulated from the guest.

The vulnerability affects VMware ESXi 5.0, 5.1, 5.5 and 6.0, Workstation 11, Player 7, and Fusion 7. Workstation 12, Player 12 and Fusion 8 do not suffer from the issue.

VMware patched the flaw with the release of 201512102-SG patches for ESXi, version 11.1.2 for Workstation, and version 7.1.2 for Player and Fusion.

Once users install the patches and updates, they need to update VMware Tools in all Windows guests that include the Shared Folders feature. As a workaround, users can simply remove the Shared Folders feature to prevent exploitation.

“VMware Tools installations initiated via vSphere (ESXi/vCenter) do not include the affected ‘Shared Folders’ (HGFS) feature unless a ‘Complete’ feature set was specified during the initial installation,” VMware said in its advisory.