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CVE-2022-22972: VMware Patches Additional Workspace ONE Access Vulnerabilities (VMSA-2022-0014)

Organizations and government agencies are strongly advised to patch two newly disclosed vulnerabilities in VMware products, following warnings from VMware and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Update May 26: The Proof-of-Concept section has been updated after Horizon3 Attack Team published a technical breakdown of CVE-2022-22972.

Background

On May 18, VMware published an advisory (VMSA-2022-0014) to address two vulnerabilities across several VMware products:

CVE Description CVSSv3
CVE-2022-22972 Authentication Bypass Vulnerability 9.8
CVE-2022-22973 Local Privilege Escalation Vulnerability 7.8

Affected products include:

This advisory follows a similar advisory from April (VMSA-2022-0011), where VMware patched multiple vulnerabilities across the same set of products.

Today, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) published Emergency Directive 22-03 for all Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FCEB) agencies to address two flaws from VMSA-2022-0011 (CVE 2022-22954 and CVE 2022-22960) as well as the two flaws patched today based on the expectation that threat actors will “quickly develop a capability to exploit these newly released vulnerabilities.”

Additionally, CISA published an alert (AA22-138B) highlighting how threat actors are chaining these VMware vulnerabilities to gain “full system control.” The alert also includes indicators of compromise and detection methods for defenders and incident responders.

Analysis

CVE-2022-22972 is an authentication bypass vulnerability in VMware Workspace ONE Access, Identity Manager and vRealize Automation that affects local domain users. In order to exploit this vulnerability, a remote attacker capable of accessing the respective user interface could bypass the authentication for these various products. It is the most severe of the two flaws patched today, as it was assigned a CVSSv3 score of 9.8. This vulnerability was credited to security researcher Bruno López of Innotec Security.

CVE-2022-22973 is a local privilege escalation vulnerability in the VMware Workspace ONE Access and Identity Manager. In order to exploit this vulnerability, an attacker would need to have local access to the vulnerable instances of Workspace ONE Access and Identity Manager. Successful exploitation would allow an attacker to gain “root” privileges.

Last month’s VMware bugs prompt cause for concern for today’s advisory

Within two days of VMware publishing its advisory for VMSA-2022-0011, researchers at GreyNoise began to observe exploitation attempts targeting CVE-2022-22954, a server-side template injection vulnerability:

In addition to CVE-2022-22954, VMware confirmed in the wild exploitation of CVE-2022-22960, a local privilege escalation vulnerability.

Considering the swiftness with which attackers began to exploit these two flaws from VMSA-2022-0011, the expectation is that attackers will be able to quickly develop a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit for CVE-2022-22972 and begin scanning for vulnerable instances across the internet. This appears to be CISA’s expectation, prompting the agency to publish the Emergency Directive for FCEBs to quickly remediate these flaws.

Proof of concept

On May 26, Horizon3 Attack Team published its analysis of the patch for CVE-2022-22972 and a proof-of-concept to its GitHub.

Solution

VMware released patches for the vulnerabilities in the following affected products:

Product/Component Affected Versions
VMware Workspace ONE Access Appliance 21.08.0.1, 21.08.0.0, 20.10.0.1, 20.10.0.0
VMware Identity Manager Appliance 3.3.6, 3.3.5, 3.3.4, 3.3.3
VMware vRealize Automation 7.6

VMware publishes second FAQ document for Workspace ONE flaws

For the second straight month, VMware has published a companion frequently asked questions (FAQ) document to provide additional clarification for the flaws addressed in VMSA-2022-0014. Once again, VMware underscores the importance of patching these flaws, stressing that the ramifications are “serious.”

Because VMware updates are cumulative, applying the fixes for VMSA-2022-0014 will also address the flaws in VMSA-2022-0011. VMware has provided a workaround for organizations that are not able to immediately patch, however applying the workaround would prevent admins from logging into the Workspace ONE Access console. VMware strongly recommends patching as it’s the “only way to remove the vulnerabilities from your environment.”

VMware notes that vSphere as well as the connectors for Workspace ONE Access and VMware Identity Manager are not affected.

Identifying affected systems

A list of Tenable plugins covering the CVEs outlined in this blog can be found here. This link uses a search filter to ensure that all matching plugin coverage will appear.

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