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Vulnerability of Vmware vSphere: privilege escalation via vMA

Synthesis of the vulnerability 

A local attacker can use the command vmatargetcon, to gain root privileges.
Vulnerable products: VMware vSphere.
Severity of this weakness: 2/4.
Creation date: 17/05/2011.
Références of this bulletin: VIGILANCE-VUL-10662.

Description of the vulnerability 

The vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) allows administrators and developers to run scripts and agents to manage ESX/ESXi and vCenter Server systems.

The sudo program allows to execute commands with privileged rights. The configuration file /etc/sudoers shows how to invoke the command vmatargetcon:
   vi-admin ... / usr / bin / vmatargetcon

However, the configuration command vmatargetcon in /etc/sudoers allows injection parameters, opening a bash shell.

A local attacker can therefore use the command vmatargetcon, to gain root privileges.
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This computer weakness impacts software or systems such as VMware vSphere.

Our Vigil@nce team determined that the severity of this vulnerability note is medium.

The trust level is of type confirmed by the editor, with an origin of user shell.

A proof of concept or an attack tool is available, so your teams have to process this alert. An attacker with a technician ability can exploit this cybersecurity threat.

Solutions for this threat 

Vmware vSphere: workaround for vMA.
A workaround is to comment the vmatargetcon config line in /etc/sudoers:
  # vi-admin ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/vmatargetcon
It can also prevent additional parameters:
  vi-admin ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/vmatargetcon ""
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