Risk
11/6/2012
10:54 AM
50%
50%

More VMware Source Code Leaks To Internet

Does the second release -- in less than a year -- of stolen VMware ESX source code put users at risk?

Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts
Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
A new batch of stolen source code for VMware ESX, the company's enterprise-level virtualization product, has been posted to the Internet.

The code release was announced Sunday on Twitter by the hacker "Stun," who also posted a link to a 1.89-MB Torrent download file for what's labeled as "VMware ESX Server Kernel."

"VMware will try to make like this Kernel is old and isn't used in its recent products. But thanks god, there is still such as thing as reverse engineering that will prove it's true destiny," read the accompanying notes from Stun. In addition, he noted that the kernel dates from between 1998 and 2004. "But as we all know, kernels don't change that much in programs, they get extended or adapted but some core functionality still stays the same," he said.

[ Read Hackers Hit Symantec, ImageShack, But Not PayPal. ]

VMware Sunday confirmed that the published VMware ESX source code is genuine, and did highlight that the code dates from 2004.

This is the second time this year that stolen VMware ESX source code has been published on the Internet. The first such release occurred on April 23, when hacker "Hardcore Charlie" published a "sneak peak" of 300 MB of VMware ESX source code that he claimed to have obtained from China Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC), a defense contractor. At the time, CEIEC denied the hacker's claim, saying that "the information reported is totally groundless, highly subjective, and defamatory." It promised to take legal action against whoever had been responsible for the claims.

Interestingly, whoever released the VMware source code then might somehow have been involved in the latest release, despite the change of hacker handle. "This source code is related to the source code posted publicly on April 23, 2012," said Iain Mulholland, VMware's director of platform security, in a security bulletin, though he offered no additional details.

In addition, this might not be the last source code to be leaked. "It is possible that more related files will be posted in the future," Mulholland said. "We take customer security seriously and have engaged our VMware Security Response Center to thoroughly investigate."

He also urged all VMware ESX users to ensure that they've installed the latest patches, which would protect them against any publicly known vulnerabilities in the code. "By applying the combination of the most current product updates and the relevant security patches, we believe our customer environments will be best protected," he said.

But could the breach still leave VMware users unprotected? It's difficult to answer that question, and depends on whether attackers find new vulnerabilities in the published source code. In January, for example, when hacker Yama Tough released source code for Symantec's pcAnywhere -- after having failed to extort $50,000 from the antivirus company -- security experts warned that attackers reviewing the source code might discover unknown vulnerabilities that could be exploited via zero-day attacks.

Still, after Hacker Charlie -- who said he'd collaborated with Yama Tough -- released the first trove of VMware ESX source code, multiple security experts declined to speculate on whether the code release might put users at risk. Given that ESX serves as a guest operating system for virtualized environments, however, any working exploit could allow an attacker to launch an "escape to hypervisor" attack and gain access to any other virtual machine running on the same server.

Benchmarking normal activity and then monitoring for users who stray from that norm is an essential strategy for getting ahead of potential data and system breaches. But choosing the right tools is only part of the effort. Without sufficient training, efficient deployment and a good response plan, attackers could gain the upper hand. Download our Fundamentals Of User Activity Monitoring report. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2188
Published: 2015-02-26
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

CVE-2015-0594
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the help pages in Cisco Common Services, as used in Cisco Prime LAN Management Solution (LMS) and Cisco Security Manager, allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, aka Bug IDs CSCuq54654 and CSCun1...

CVE-2015-0632
Published: 2015-02-26
Race condition in the Neighbor Discovery (ND) protocol implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a flood of Router Solicitation messages on the local network, aka Bug ID CSCuo67770.

CVE-2015-0651
Published: 2015-02-26
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the web GUI in Cisco Application Networking Manager (ANM), and Device Manager (DM) on Cisco 4710 Application Control Engine (ACE) appliances, allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users, aka Bug ID CSCuo99753.

CVE-2015-0882
Published: 2015-02-26
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in zencart-ja (aka Zen Cart Japanese edition) 1.3 jp through 1.3.0.2 jp8 and 1.5 ja through 1.5.1 ja allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted parameter, related to admin/includes/init_includes/init_sanitize.php an...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.