VMware Patches Privilege Escalation Vulnerability in Tools for Windows

A high-severity vulnerability that VMware patched this week in VMware Tools for Windows could be exploited to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges.

Tracked as CVE-2021-21999 and featuring a CVSS score of 7.8, the issue is a local privilege escalation that requires for an attacker to have normal access to a virtual machine for successful exploitation.

“An attacker with normal access to a virtual machine may exploit this issue by placing a malicious file renamed as ‘openssl.cnf’ in an unrestricted directory which would allow code to be executed with elevated privileges,” VMware notes in an advisory.

The company also explains that this security hole is not limited to VMware Tools for Windows, impacting VMware Remote Console (VMRC) for Windows and VMware App Volumes as well.

VMware says the flaw was reported by Zeeshan Shaikh from NotSoSecure (working with Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative) and Hou JingYi of Qihoo 360.

The vulnerability has been addressed with the release of VMware Tools for Windows 11.2.6, VMRC for Windows 12.0.1, and App Volumes 4 release 2103/App Volumes 2.18.10. Users are advised to update to any of the patched software versions as soon as possible.

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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