Corsaire Security Advisory - VMware ESX Server Password Disclosure in Cookie issue Jul 31 2006 01:00PM
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-- Corsaire Security Advisory --

Title: VMware ESX Server Password Disclosure in Cookie issue
Date: 12.05.06
Application: VMware ESX prior to 2.5.2 patch 4
VMware ESX prior to 2.0.2
Environment: VMware ESX
Author: Martin O'Neal [martin.oneal (at) corsaire (dot) com [email concealed]]
Audience: General distribution
Reference: c060512-001

-- Scope --

The aim of this document is to clearly define an issue that exists with
the VMware ESX Server product [1] that will allow a local attacker to
gain access to users' (including root's) passwords under certain
conditions.

-- History --

Discovered: 12.05.06 (Martin O'Neal)
Vendor notified: 19.05.06
Document released: 31.07.06

-- Overview --

VMware ESX Server is described [1] as virtual infrastructure software
for partitioning, consolidating and managing servers in mission-critical
environments.

The software provides a virtualization layer that allows multiple x86
based operating systems to run on the same hardware concurrently. The
ESX Server product differs from other VMware products in that it does
not require a "host" operating system to be provided by the user.
Instead, it uses a custom x86 kernel as the host, along with a
customised Linux operating system as a "console O/S".

VMware ESX Server includes a number of network services and a web
application, called the "VMware Management Interface" that can be used
to perform remote administration of the system.

-- Analysis --

The Management Interface is a traditional web application, which
utilises a session ID contained within two cookies; vmware.mui.kid and
vmware.mui.sid. The Session ID format is proprietary and contains the
user account and password in a simple (recursively) base64 encoded
format.

If an attacker can gain access to the cookies by any mechanism, such as
through a simple cross site scripting attack, then they will acquire not
only the session ID, but the authentication credentials as well.

-- Recommendations --

Upgrade to a version of the VMware ESX product that does not exhibit
this issue.

-- CVE --

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the
name CVE-2006-2481 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in
the CVE list (http://cve.mitre.org), which standardises names for
security problems.

-- References --

[1] http://www.vmware.com/products/esx/

-- Revision --

a. Initial release.
b. Minor edits.
c. Released.

-- Distribution --

The information contained within this advisory is supplied "as-is" with
no warranties or guarantees of fitness of use or otherwise. Corsaire
accepts no responsibility for any damage caused by the use or misuse of
this information.

-- Disclaimer --

The information contained within this advisory is supplied "as-is" with
no warranties or guarantees of fitness of use or otherwise. Corsaire
accepts no responsibility for any damage caused by the use or misuse of
this information.

-- About Corsaire --

Corsaire are a leading information security consultancy, founded in 1997
in Guildford, Surrey, UK. Corsaire bring innovation, integrity and
analytical rigour to every job, which means fast and dramatic security
performance improvements. Our services centre on the delivery of
information security planning, assessment, implementation, management
and vulnerability research.

A free guide to selecting a security assessment supplier is available at
http://www.penetration-testing.com

Copyright 2006 Corsaire Limited. All rights reserved.

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