Last updated at Fri, 20 May 2022 20:13:36 GMT

On May 18, 2022, VMware published VMSA-2022-0014 on CVE-2022-22972 and CVE-2022-22973. The more severe of the two vulnerabilities is CVE-2022-22972, a critical authentication bypass affecting VMware’s Workspace ONE Access, Identity Manager, and vRealize Automation solutions. The vulnerability allows attackers with network access to the UI to obtain administrative access without the need to authenticate. CVE-2022-22972 may be chained with CVE-2022-22973 to bypass authentication and obtain root access. A full list of affected products is available in VMware’s advisory.

At time of writing, there is no public proof of concept for CVE-2022-22972, and there have been no reports of exploitation in the wild. We expect this to change quickly, however, since Rapid7 researchers have seen similar VMware vulnerabilities come under attack quickly in recent weeks. In April 2022, we published details on CVE-2022-22954, a server-side template injection flaw that was widely exploited by threat actors targeting internet-facing VMware Workspace ONE and Identity Manager applications.

In conjunction with VMware’s advisory on May 18, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) published Emergency Directive 22-03 in response to VMSA-2022-0014. The directive requires all “Federal Civilian Executive Branch” agencies to either apply the patch or remove affected VMware installations from agency networks by May 24, 2022. CISA also released an additional alert emphasizing that threat actors are known to be chaining recent VMware vulnerabilities — CVE-2022-22954 and CVE-2022-22960 — to gain full control of vulnerable systems. CISA’s alert notes that the new vulnerabilities in VMSA-2022-0014 are likely to be exploited in the wild quickly:

Due to the [likely] rapid exploitation of these vulnerabilities, CISA strongly encourages all organizations with affected VMware products that are accessible from the internet — that did not immediately apply updates — to assume compromise.

Mitigation guidance

VMware customers should patch their Workspace ONE Access, Identity Manager, and vRealize Automation installations immediately, without waiting for a regular patch cycle to occur. VMware has instructions here on patching and applying workarounds.

Additionally, if your installation is internet-facing, consider taking steps to remove direct access from the internet. It may also be prudent to follow CISA’s guidance on post-exploitation detection methods found in Alert (AA22-138B).

Rapid7 customers

InsightVM and Nexpose customers will be able to assess their VMware Workspace ONE Access and Identity Manager systems’ exposure to CVE-2022-22972 and CVE-2022-22973 with authenticated vulnerability checks for Unix-like systems available in the May 20, 2022 content release. (Note that VMware Workspace ONE Access is only able to be deployed on Linux from 20.x onward.) Additional vulnerability coverage will be evaluated as the need arises.

Note: The original version of this blog post indicated that Rapid7 VM customers could expect coverage in the May 19 content release. Due to unforeseen complications with detecting VMware's hotfix patch, there was a delay and the checks will be available in the May 20 content release.


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