IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

VMware issues details of emergency actions that need taking to address a critical security vulnerability

VMware has issued an alert about a number of vulnerabilities discovered in VMware vCenter Server, the most serious of which requires immediate action. The alert, VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2021-0020, includes a vulnerability that has been evaluated in the critical severity range, with a maximum CVSSv3 base score of 9.8.

In an associated blog, VMware explains:

When do I need to do something about this?
Right now. These updates fix a critical security vulnerability, and your response needs to be considered at once. Organizations that practice change management using the ITIL definitions of change types would consider this an 'emergency change'.

What should I do to protect myself?
First, if you can patch vCenter Server, do it. In general, this is the fastest way to resolve this problem... If you can’t patch right away there are workarounds linked from the VMSA for the critical vulnerability.

"In this era of ransomware it is safest to assume that an attacker is already inside your network somewhere, on a desktop and perhaps even in control of a user account, which is why we strongly recommend declaring an emergency change and patching as soon as possible," says VMware.

Read the advisory
Read the associated blog.

Industry comments

ExtraHop’s Deputy CISO, Jeff Costlow, told Continuity Central:

"The security flaws disclosed by VMware on Tuesday have several serious implications for any organization using vCenter. Our sensors show vCenter instances in 79% of enterprise environments. 

"As a VMware spokesperson acknowledged, chances are that someone is already on your network, looking for an avenue to perform remote code execution, and these VMware security flaws allow that and then some. The most critical, CVE-2021-22005, allows an attacker to execute both commands and software on any unpatched device. Other vulnerabilities provide additional avenues for remote code execution and privilege escalation.

"Strung together, these vulnerabilities could allow someone to inflict significant damage in a short period of time.

"With the announcement of these security flaws, the clock is running on when POCs will become available for exploitation. The first step is to heed VMware’s advice. Patch these devices as soon as possible. The second step is to closely monitor your network for any anomalous activity that may indicate that a device has already been compromised."  



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