Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Threat Intelligence

12/7/2020
03:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

NSA Warns of Exploits Targeting Recently Disclosed VMware Vulnerability

Agency urges organizations to deploy patch as soon as possible since exploit activity is hard to detect.

The US National Security Agency (NSA) Monday warned network administrators at the Department of Defense and the Defense Industrial Base Sector that Russian state-backed hackers are actively exploiting a security flaw in VMware's Workspace ONE Access and related technologies to access sensitive data.

The advisory urged organizations to implement a patch that VMware has released for the vulnerability as quickly as possible. For organizations unable to immediately patch the issue, the NSA pointed to a workaround that VMware has suggested for disabling a key component required to exploit the vulnerability.

Related Content:

VMware Fights Android BYOD Headaches

The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence

New on The Edge: BECs and EACs: What's the Difference?

"This workaround should only be a temporary fix until able to fully patch the system," the NSA cautioned. "In addition, review and harden configurations and monitoring of federated authentication providers."

The vulnerability (CVE-2020-4006) being exploited is a command injection flaw that VMware first disclosed on Nov. 23. It exists in VMware Workspace One Access, Access Connector, Identity Manager, Identity Manager Connector, VMware Cloud Foundation, and the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager.

VMware issued a fix for the flaw on Dec. 3. The company has described the issue as a command injection vulnerability, which allows attackers to run malicious commands with unrestricted privileges on the underlying operating system.

But to exploit the vulnerability, an attacker would need to have access to TCP/UDP port 8843 and also a valid password to the configurator admin account — or the web-based management interface of a vulnerable device.

"This account is internal to the impacted products and a password is set at the time of deployment," VMware said in its vulnerability announcement.

A malicious actor would need this password to exploit CVE-2020-4006, the vendor said. The vulnerability has been assessed a CVSS score of 7.2, making it an "important" to "high severity" issue.

Hard to Detect
The NSA, which disclosed the vulnerability to VMware, warned that network-based intrusion detection systems would unlikely spot any exploitation activity since all of it would occur exclusively within the encrypted TLS tunnel associated with the web-based management interface.

"That interface typically runs over port 8443, but it could be over any user-defined port," the NSA said in urging organizations to limit access to the interface and to block it from direct access over the Internet.

The NSA said it had observed attackers access the web management interface and use command injection to install web shells on vulnerable devices. They then generated fake SAML authentication assertions — which are used to prove the identity of a user — to get Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to grant them access to protected data the NSA said.

"It is critical when running products that perform authentication that the server and all the services that depend on it are properly configured for secure operation and integration," the NSA said.

Organizations using ADFS should also consider implementing multifactor authentication for securing SAML assertions. Otherwise, attackers could forge SAML assertions to gain access to numerous protected resources, the NSA said.

In a separate advisory, VMware outlined specific mitigation measures that organizations running Linux appliances and Windows servers can take to prevent attackers from abusing the flaw.

The NSA advisory listed specific indicators of compromise that organizations should keep an eye out for.

"Regularly monitor authentication logs for anomalous authentications, especially successful ones that leverage established trusts but that come from unusual addresses or contain unusual properties," it said.

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Zero Trust doesn't have to break your budget!
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-36388
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-17
In CiviCRM before 5.21.3 and 5.22.x through 5.24.x before 5.24.3, users may be able to upload and execute a crafted PHAR archive.
CVE-2020-36389
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-17
In CiviCRM before 5.28.1 and CiviCRM ESR before 5.27.5 ESR, the CKEditor configuration form allows CSRF.
CVE-2021-32575
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-17
HashiCorp Nomad and Nomad Enterprise up to version 1.0.4 bridge networking mode allows ARP spoofing from other bridged tasks on the same node. Fixed in 0.12.12, 1.0.5, and 1.1.0 RC1.
CVE-2021-33557
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-17
An XSS issue was discovered in manage_custom_field_edit_page.php in MantisBT before 2.25.2. Unescaped output of the return parameter allows an attacker to inject code into a hidden input field.
CVE-2021-23396
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-17
All versions of package lutils are vulnerable to Prototype Pollution via the main (merge) function.