Security Experts:

Vulnerability in VMware vSphere Replication Can Facilitate Attacks on Enterprises

VMware last week informed customers about the availability of patches for a potentially serious vulnerability affecting its vSphere Replication product.

vSphere Replication, a VMware vSphere component, is a virtual machine replication engine designed for data protection and disaster recovery.

VMware has told customers that several versions of the product are affected by a high-severity (important) command injection vulnerability that can be exploited by a hacker with admin privileges to execute shell commands on the underlying system.

“Successful exploitation of this issue may allow authenticated admin user to perform a remote code execution,” VMware said in its advisory.

The security hole is tracked as CVE-2021-21976. Patches have been released for each of the affected versions of vSphere Replication.

Egor Dimitrenko, the Positive Technologies researcher who discovered the vulnerability, told SecurityWeek that an attacker could obtain the access required for exploitation through, for example, social engineering or by hoping that the targeted admin account is protected by a weak password. Once the account has been accessed, exploitation of the vulnerability is not difficult, the researcher said.

“When carrying out an attack on a company infrastructure, an attacker can detect the VMware vSphere Replication instance at the perimeter of its network and, as the used password is weak, for example, he can guess credentials to enter the administrator interface,” Dimitrenko explained. “After gaining authorized access, the attacker will be able to exploit this vulnerability and execute arbitrary commands on the server with maximum privileges.”

“Having obtained the possibility of the execution of arbitrary commands on the server with maximum privileges, the attacker will be able to start further progress to seize full control over the company's infrastructure,” he added.

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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.