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VMware Patches Critical Flaw Reported by Sanctioned Russian Security Firm

VMware has patched another critical vulnerability reported by Positive Technologies, a Russian cybersecurity firm that was sanctioned recently by the United States.

Positive Technologies is one of the several Russian tech firms sanctioned in April by the U.S. for allegedly supporting Kremlin intelligence agencies. The company has reported many serious vulnerabilities to major vendors such as Microsoft, Intel and VMware over the past years and says that it plans to continue doing so.

The latest security hole reported by Positive Technologies to VMware is CVE-2021-21984, a critical remote code execution vulnerability affecting VMware vRealize Business for Cloud.

“A malicious actor with network access may exploit this issue causing unauthorised remote code execution on vRealize Business for Cloud Virtual Appliance,” the virtualization giant said in an advisory released this week.

Egor Dimitrenko, the Positive Technologies researcher who reported the flaw to VMware, told SecurityWeek that the impacted product is typically used within an organization’s local network, but claims that his company has seen instances where these systems have been configured in a way that makes them accessible from the internet.

The researcher said an unauthenticated attacker who has access to the targeted system does not require any privileges or special access to exploit CVE-2021-21984.

According to Dimitrenko, exploitation of the vulnerability “allows attackers to execute arbitrary code in the system, which leads to a complete compromise of the server and allows a criminal to perform attacks on the company infrastructure.”

In a statement to SecurityWeek, Positive Technologies said it will continue to report vulnerabilities to companies such as VMware, despite the recent sanctions.

“Positive Technologies has spent nearly two decades building a stellar reputation in this critical field, and we won't stop now,” said a company spokesperson. “We're keeping our focus where it's always been: Developing technologies and services to ensure and enhance cybersecurity around the world, and responsibly disclosing security vulnerabilities uncovered by our researchers during the course of this work, in full compliance with all obligations to customers, partners, employees and governments.”

Positive Technologies claims to have thousands of customers across 30 countries, including in the financial, telecoms and government sectors.

In January 2020, the company said it had been accepted into the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP), which gives member security software providers early access to vulnerability information to enable them to protect their customers against potential attacks if a patch is not available. However, after the sanctions were announced, Microsoft dropped Positive Technologies from the MAPP.

Related: VMware vROps Flaws Can Provide 'Unlimited Opportunities' in Attacks on Companies

Related: Sanctioned Russian IT Firm Was Partner With Microsoft, IBM

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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.