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Hackers Find Code Execution Flaw in VMware Workstation

VMware informed customers on Sunday that it has patched a critical out-of-bounds memory access vulnerability affecting its Workstation and Fusion products.

VMware informed customers on Sunday that it has patched a critical out-of-bounds memory access vulnerability affecting its Workstation and Fusion products.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2016-7461, affects the drag-and-drop function and it can be exploited from the guest to execute arbitrary code on the host operating system running Fusion or Workstation.

The security hole affects Workstation Player and Pro 12.x, and Fusion (Pro) 8.x. The issue has been patched with the release of versions 12.5.2 and 8.5.2, respectively. ESXi is not impacted.

According to VMware, the vulnerability cannot be exploited against Workstation Pro or Fusion if both the drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste functions are disabled. This workaround does not work on Workstation Player.

The vulnerability was disclosed recently at PwnFest, a hacking competition that took place in South Korea at the 2016 Power Of Community (POC) security conference.

VMware has credited Qinghao Tang and Xinlei Ying from Qihoo 360’s Marvel Team and JungHoon Lee (lokihardt) for finding the flaw. The reward for hacking VMware Workstation Pro 12 on Windows 10 at PwnFest was $150,000. PwnFest participants earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for hacking products from Microsoft, Google, Adobe, VMware and Apple.

The virtualization giant informed customers last week that several of its products are affected by the recently disclosed Linux kernel vulnerability dubbed “Dirty COW” (CVE-2016-5195). The impacted products include Identity Manager, vRealize Automation and vRealize Operations.

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The vendor has started releasing software updates to address the local privilege escalation flaw. Patches for Identity Manager, vRealize Automation and version 5.x of vRealize Operations are still pending.

Related: VMware Flaws Allow Security Bypass on Mac OS X

Related: VMware Patches Directory Traversal Flaw in Horizon View

Related: Flaws Allow Attackers to Hijack VMware vRA Appliances

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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