Security Experts:

VMWare Issues Security Fixes for vSphere API and ESX Service Console

Virtualization giant VMware released a security update last week to address a denial of service (DoS) vulnerability in ESX and ESXi, along with and update for the ESX Service Console that includes a number of security updates for open source Python packages.

According to VMware, the vSphere API contains a denial of service vulnerability that allows an attacker to send a maliciously crafted API request and disable the host daemon. If successfully exploited, it would prevent any management actions on the host. However, virtual machines running on the host would be unaffected, VMWare said.

“This really shows how vulnerabilities can be exploited, and how important it is to secure today's virtualization and cloud environments,” said Eric Chiu, president & founder of virtualization security firm HyTrust. “After all, this is the new 'OS' of the datacenter and provides access to the virtual machines, the virtual network and mission critical enterprise applications, and the virtualized storage resources as well,” Chiu said.

Reported by Sebastián Tullo of Core Security Technologies, the VMware vSphere API Denial of Service vulnerability has been tagged as CVE-2012-5703 by The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures project.

The ESX service console update fixes multiple security issues, in particular related to Python packages associated with the service console. Details and affected versions can be found in the VMWare security advisory

“Virtualization is a prime target for breaches and attacks-- especially the management plane, which is the easiest way to exploit a virtualized environment and get the 'keys to the kingdom,’” Chiu said.