VMware patches virtual machine escape issue on Windows

The updates also address denial-of-service issues in multiple products

VMware logo

VMware logo

VMware has released security updates for several of its virtualization products in order to address critical vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to break out of virtual machines and execute rogue code on the host operating systems.

The code execution flaws affect the Windows versions of VMware Workstation, VMware Player and VMware Horizon Client. They were discovered by Kostya Kortchinsky of the Google Security Team and stem from a printer virtualization feature that allows a virtual machine's guest OS to access the printer attached to the host computer.

"On VMware Workstation 11.1, the virtual printer device is added by default to new VMs, and on recent Windows Hosts, the Microsoft XPS Document Writer is available as a default printer," Kortchinsky explained in an advisory. "Even if the VMware Tools are not installed in the Guest, the COM1 port can be used to talk to the Host printing Proxy."

An attacker with access to the guest OS can send EMFSPOOL and EMF files to the virtual COM1 serial port in order to exploit various vulnerabilities in the printer proxy process running on the host OS and then execute rogue code, the researcher said.

Some of the vulnerabilities can also be used to perform a denial-of-service attack against the Windows OS that runs the vulnerable VMware software.

VMware addressed the flaws in the newly released VMware Workstation 11.1.1 and 10.0.6; VMware Player 7.1.1 and 6.0.6 and the VMware Horizon Client for Windows 3.4.0, 3.2.1 and 5.4.2.

A workaround suggested by Kortchinsky is to "disconnect" the virtual printer from the guest OS or to remove it entirely from the virtual machine settings.

A separate input validation issue was identified for RPC commands in VMware Workstation 10.x, VMware Player 6.x, Fusion 7.x and 6.x, running on any supported platform. The flaw can be exploited to launch a denial-of-service attack against guest operating systems with the 32-bit architecture, or host operating systems with the 64-bit architecture.

To address this issue, users are advised to upgrade to VMware Workstation 10.0.5, VMware Player 6.0.6 or Fusion 7.0.1 and 6.0.6.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags patchessecurityExploits / vulnerabilitiesVMware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?