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Microsoft Vulnerability Research Advisory MSVR13-003

Vulnerability in VMware VMCI.sys Could Allow Local Elevation of Privilege

Published: February 19, 2013

Version: 1.0


Executive Summary

Microsoft is providing notification of the discovery and remediation of a vulnerability affecting VMware Workstation version 8.0.4 and earlier versions. Microsoft discovered and disclosed the vulnerability under coordinated vulnerability disclosure to the affected vendor, VMware. VMware has remediated the vulnerability in their software.

A vulnerability exists in the way that the VMware VMCI.sys driver handles particular IO codes. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain elevated privileges on the affected system and run commands in the security context of the Local System. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full administrative rights.

Microsoft Vulnerability Research reported this issue to and coordinated with VMware to ensure remediation of this issue. The vulnerability has been assigned the entry, CVE-2013-1406, in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures list. For more information, including information about updates from VMware, see VMware security advisory VMSA-2013-0002.1.

Mitigating Factors

  • An attacker must have valid logon credentials and be able to log on locally to exploit this vulnerability.
  • This vulnerability cannot be exploited automatically through email or through a website.

Advisory Details

Purpose and Recommendation

Purpose of Advisory: To notify users of a vulnerability and its remediation.

Advisory Status: Advisory published.

Recommendation: Review the Suggested Actions section and configure as appropriate.

Issue References

For more information about this issue, see the following references:

Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures CVE-2013-1406

Affected and Non-Affected Software

This advisory discusses the following software:

Affected Software
VMware Workstation version 8.0.4 and earlier versions
VMware Workstation version 9.0
Non-Affected Software
VMware Workstation version 8.0.5
VMware Workstation version 9.0.1

What is the scope of this advisory? 
This advisory is part of a coordinated release with affected vendors to inform customers of a security issue that may affect their systems.

Is this a security vulnerability that requires Microsoft to issue a security update? 
No. This vulnerability has been fixed via an update from the affected third-party vendors. The update remediates the software listed in the table, Affected Software.

What is the scope of the vulnerability? 
This is an elevation of privilege vulnerability that could allow an attacker, who already has a valid user account, to execute commands in the security context of the Local System.

What causes the vulnerability? 
The VMware VMCI.sys driver improperly handles specific IO codes allowing a user to execute commands as ring0.

What might an attacker use this vulnerability to do? 
An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system in the security context of the Local System. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full adminstrative rights.

How could an attacker exploit the vulnerability? 
An attacker who is logged on locally to the target system could exploit this vulnerability by sending specific commands to the affected driver.

Update to the latest version of VMware Workstation

Other Information


Microsoft thanks the following:

  • Kostya Kortchinsky of Microsoft, and VMware for working toward a resolution


The information provided in this advisory is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Microsoft disclaims all warranties, either express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In no event shall Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers be liable for any damages whatsoever including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, loss of business profits or special damages, even if Microsoft Corporation or its suppliers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages so the foregoing limitation may not apply.


  • V1.0 (February 19, 2013): Advisory published.

Built at 2014-04-18T13:49:36Z-07:00

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