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High-Severity Privilege Escalation Vulnerability Patched in VMware Workstation

VMware patches CVE-2023-20854, a vulnerability that can be exploited by a malicious hacker to delete arbitrary files.

VMware has informed users about the availability of patches for a Workstation vulnerability that could be exploited by malicious hackers for privilege escalation.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2023-20854 and rated ‘high severity’, has been described by VMware as an arbitrary file deletion vulnerability affecting version 17.x on Windows. 

“A malicious actor with local user privileges on the victim’s machine may exploit this vulnerability to delete arbitrary files from the file system of the machine on which Workstation is installed,” VMware said in its advisory for CVE-2023-20854.

The virtualization giant has credited Frederik Reiter of German cybersecurity firm Cirosec for reporting the vulnerability. 

In a message posted on Twitter, Cirosec said the security hole can be exploited by an attacker to escalate privileges to System. The company said it will release technical details in the upcoming period.

While this vulnerability might never be exploited in the wild, VMware users have been warned about a series of recently patched vRealize Log Insight flaws for which exploit code is available. The cybersecurity industry is keeping an eye out for any exploitation attempts involving the vulnerabilities. 

Related: VMware Plugs Critical vRealize Code Execution Flaws

Related: VMware Patches VM Escape Flaw Exploited at Geekpwn Event

Related: Gaping Authentication Bypass Holes in VMware Workspace One

Related: VMware Confirms Workspace One Exploits in the Wild

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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