VMware has issued patches to contain two security flaws impacting Workspace ONE Access, Identity Manager, and vRealize Automation that could be exploited to backdoor enterprise networks.
The first of the two flaws, tracked as CVE-2022-22972 (CVSS score: 9.8), concerns an authentication bypass that could enable an actor with network access to the UI to gain administrative access without prior authentication.
CVE-2022-22973 (CVSS score: 7.8), the other bug, is a case of local privilege escalation that could enable an attacker with local access to elevate privileges to the “root” user on vulnerable virtual appliances.
“It is extremely important that you quickly take steps to patch or mitigate these issues in on-premises deployments,” VMware said.
The disclosure follows a warning from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) that advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are exploiting CVE-2022-22954 and CVE-2022-22960 — two other VMware flaws that were fixed early last month — separately and in combination.
“An unauthenticated actor with network access to the web interface leveraged CVE-2022-22954 to execute an arbitrary shell command as a VMware user,” it said. “The actor then exploited CVE-2022-22960 to escalate the user’s privileges to root. With root access, the actor could wipe logs, escalate permissions, and move laterally to other systems.”
On top of that, the cybersecurity authority noted that threat actors have deployed post-exploitation tools such as the Dingo J-spy web shell in at least three different organizations.
IT security company Barracuda Networks, in an independent report, said it has observed consistent probing attempts in the wild for CVE-2022-22954 and CVE-2022-22960 soon after the shortcomings became public knowledge on April 6.
More than three-fourths of the attacker IPs, about 76%, are said to have originated from the U.S., followed by the U.K. (6%), Russia (6%), Australia (5%), India (2%), Denmark (1%), and France (1%).
Some of the exploitation attempts recorded by the company involve botnet operators, with the threat actors leveraging the flaws to deploy variants of the Mirai distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) malware.
The issues have also prompted CISA to issue an emergency directive urging federal civilian executive branch (FCEB) agencies to apply the updates by 5 p.m. EDT on May 23 or disconnect the devices from their networks.
“CISA expects threat actors to quickly develop a capability to exploit these newly released vulnerabilities in the same impacted VMware products,” the agency said.
The patches arrive a little over a month after the company rolled out an update to resolve a critical security flaw in its Cloud Director product (CVE-2022-22966) that could be weaponized to launch remote code execution attacks.
CISA warns of active exploitation of F5 BIG-IP CVE-2022-1388
It’s not just VMware that’s under fire. The agency has also released a follow-up advisory with regards to the active exploitation of CVE-2022-1388 (CVSS score: 9.8), a recently disclosed remote code execution flaw affecting BIG-IP devices.
CISA said it expects to “see widespread exploitation of unpatched F5 BIG-IP devices (mostly with publicly exposed management ports or self IPs) in both government and private sector networks.”