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VMware Releases Software Updates to Fix ShellShock Bug

Joining several major tech companies, VMware has started rolling out software updates that address the recently discovered GNU Bash vulnerability dubbed ShellShock.

The list of VMware products affected by the vulnerability includes ESX, vCenter Server Appliance, Horizon Workspace, IT Business Management Suite,  vCenter Log Insight, vCenter Operations Manager, vCenter Site Recovery Manager, vCloud Application Director, vCloud Automation Center, vCloud Director Appliance, vFabric Postgres, VMware Data Recovery, VMware Mirage Gateway, vSphere Replication and vSphere Storage Appliance. ESXi and Windows-based products are not affected, the company said in its advisory.

For the time being, Bash libraries have been updated only for solutions such as ESX, vCenter Server Appliance, IT Business Management Suite, vCenter Log Insight, vCenter Site Recovery Manager, vCloud Director Appliance, vFabric Postgres, VMware Data Recovery, VMware Mirage Gateway, vSphere Replication and vSphere Storage Appliance.

Until patches are made available for all the products, VMware advises its customers to mitigate potential attacks by allowing access to affected appliances, through firewall rules and other network controls, only from trusted IP addresses.

The initial ShellShock vulnerability (CVE-2014-6271) was patched fairly quickly. However, in the following days, several other related issues were uncovered: CVE-2014-7169, CVE-2014-7186, CVE-2014-7187, CVE-2014-6277 and CVE-2014-6278. VMware points out that its software updates remediate all of these issues.

"VMware’s Security Engineers have been closely monitoring and evaluating the various fixes being proposed within the security community. As such, VMware has adopted the more comprehensive solution suggested by Dr. Christos Zoulas of the NetBSD project last week," explained Monty Ijzerman, Sr. Program Manager of Product Security at VMware. "This broad fix removes access to the underlying function importing behavior in bash that exposes the fragile parsing code to external exploitation. We expect this broader fix to be more durable than point fixes as it will remove the risk due to future parser bugs."

Apple, Oracle and Cisco have also started releasing security updates for their products and, earlier this week, researchers reported that even certain OpenVPN configurations are susceptible to ShellShock attacks.

Unsurprisingly, many malicious entities are already exploiting the vulnerability in the wild on a massive scale. Incapsula has detected more than 217,000 attacks in the first four days. Akamai has also been monitoring the evolution of ShellShock and identified attacks coming from a total of 22,000 unique IP addresses as of Sept. 30.

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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.