May 02

vCloud Security Components Part 3

Mark Jones, VCI, continues his overview of the VMware vCloud Security components found in the VMware vCloud Networking and Security product suite, taking a c…

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Mar 10

Configuring OpenSSL for installation and configuration of CA signed certificates in the vSphere environment (2015387)


This article guides you through the installation and configuration of OpenSSL. You may want to install and configure OpenSSL to be able to create custom certificates for vSphere environments. It also helps to eliminate common causes for problems and ensure that the requests generated are appropriate for vSphere environments.



OpenSSL can be used for creating certificate requests and also as a certificate authority. Although the steps that are used to generate the certificate are different, the setup and configuration steps are the same as the certificates that vSphere uses are X.509 v3 SSL certificates. Only the way in which the actual certificate is generated is different.


Important: Ensure that you are using OpenSSL version 0.9.8. If you do not use this version, the SSL implementation will fail.To setup OpenSSL:

  1. Ensure that the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable Package (x86) is installed on the system on which you want to generate the requests. To download the package, see the Microsoft Download Center.
  2. Download the Shining Light Productions installer for OpenSSL x86 version 0.98r or later at This is a software developed from the OpenSSL Project.
  3. Launch the installer and proceed through the installation and note the appropriate directory for later use. By default, it is located at c:\OpenSSL-Win32.After this program is installed, you must configure it to issue vSphere certificates.Note: The preceding links were correct as of July 29, 2013. If you find a link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.


To configure OpenSSL follow these steps:
  1. Take a backup of the openssl.cfg file. By default, this file is located at the c:\OpenSSL-Win32\bin directory.
  2. Delete the contents of the file and replace with:Note: Replace the code in Red with the details of the server that you are configuring.[ req ]
    default_bits = 2048
    default_keyfile = rui.key
    distinguished_name = req_distinguished_name
    encrypt_key = no
    prompt = no
    string_mask = nombstr
    req_extensions = v3_req[ v3_req ]
    basicConstraints = CA:FALSE
    keyUsage = digitalSignature, keyEncipherment, dataEncipherment
    extendedKeyUsage = serverAuth, clientAuth
    subjectAltName = DNS:vc50, IP:,[ req_distinguished_name ]
    countryName = US
    stateOrProvinceName = NY
    localityName = New York
    0.organizationName = VMWare
    organizationalUnitName = vCenterInventoryService
    commonName =
  3. Save and close the file.The installation is now set to configure a certificate for the server that you have entered in the file. You can repeat this configuration by creating separate files for each server request or by not specifying a value. If you do not specify a value, OpenSSL prompts you for the information.Note: The preceding modified file will not prompt you for information because all information is configured within the file.

Additional Information

Mar 10

New VMware Security Advisory VMSA-2013-0016

Today VMware has released the following new security advisory:


The advisory documents CVE-2013-5973 “VMware ESXi and ESX unauthorized file access through vCenter Server and ESX”. This issue may allow certain unprivileged users on vCenter Server access to arbitrary files on ESXi/ESX and may allow local unprivileged users on ESX (i.e. ESX 4.0 and ESX 4.1) access to arbitrary files. Modification of files on ESXi or ESX may allow for code execution after a host reboot.

Please sign up to the Security-Announce mailing list to receive new and updated VMware Security Advisories.

Customers should review the security advisory and direct any questions to VMware Support.



VMware Security Advisories


VMware ESXi and ESX unauthorized file access through vCenter Server and ESX
1. Summary
VMware ESXi and ESX unauthorized file access through vCenter Server and ESX
2. Relevant releases

VMware ESXi 5.5 without patch ESXi550-201312001
VMware ESXi 5.1 without patch ESXi510-201310001
VMware ESXi 5.0 without patch update-from-esxi5.0-5.0_update03
VMware ESXi 4.1 without patch ESXi410-201312001
VMware ESXi 4.0 without patch ESXi400-201310001

VMware ESX 4.1 without patch ESX410-201312001
VMware ESX 4.0 without patch ESX400-201310001

3. Problem Description
a. VMware ESXi and ESX unauthorized file access through vCenter Server and ESX

VMware ESXi and ESX contain a vulnerability in the handling of certain Virtual Machine file descriptors. This issue may allow an unprivileged vCenter Server user with the privilege “Add Existing Disk” to obtain read and write access to arbitrary files on ESXi or ESX. On ESX, an unprivileged local user may obtain read and write access to arbitrary files. Modifying certain files may allow for code execution after a host reboot.

Unpriviledged vCenter Server users or groups that are assigned the predefined role “Virtual Machine Power User” or “Resource Pool Administrator” have the privilege “Add Existing Disk”.

The issue cannot be exploited through VMware vCloud Director.


  • A workaround is provided in VMware Knowledge Base article 2066856.


  • In a default vCenter Server installation no unprivileged users or groups are assigned the predefined role “Virtual Machine Power User” or “Resource Pool Administrator”.
  • Restrict the number of vCenter Server users that have the privilege “Add Existing Disk”.

VMware would like to thank Shanon Olsson for reporting this issue to us through JPCERT.

The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures project ( has assigned the name CVE-2013-5973 to this issue.

Column 4 of the following table lists the action required to remediate the vulnerability in each release, if a solution is available.

Known Issues (*)

Deploying these patches does not remediate the issue if the ESXi or ESX file /etc/vmware/configrules has been modified manually (modifying this file is uncommon). Customers who have modified this file should apply the workaround after installing the patch.

After deploying the patches, Virtual Machines that have their names ending in “-flat”, “-rdm” or “-rdmp” will no longer power on. See the VMware Knowledge Base article listed under “Workaround” for a solution.

4. Solution

Please review the patch/release notes for your product and version and verify the checksum of your downloaded file.
ESXi and ESX

ESXi 5.5
md5sum: 549b5eb75f1d4d937019d2c28e15a4fe
sha1sum: c2656b25e2a85799d4aa79ded942d4c322e9487a
ESXi550-201312001 contains ESXi550-201312101-SG

ESXi 5.1
md5sum: 00b6a97b3042dc45da52e20b67666387
sha1sum: 8b0e2e832d0c603991718da17e1f73de4f0969cc
ESXi510-201310001 contains ESXi510-201310101-SG

ESXi 5.0
md5sum: 7e6185fa3238a4895613b39e57a2a94b
sha1sum: aa3929d2c8183aeaecdc238cbbf4d270bd70dd07
update-from-esxi5.0-5.0_update03 contains ESXi500-201310101-SG

ESXi 4.1
md5sum: f85c0c449513b88b22f19a5f11966d5e
sha1sum: cfde5abbef77976b76d55813ae1e7bbbbca25b7b
ESXi410-201312001 contains ESXi410-201312401-SG

ESXi 4.0
md5sum: 3075bce1b19a52b053a5dc18d06d40e0
sha1sum: 19952da0dd9f81ea299cb8ae6c462f11566b56e0
ESXi400-201310001 contains ESXi400-201310401-SG

ESX 4.1
md5sum: c35763a84db169dd0285442d4129cc18
sha1sum: ee8e1b8d2d383422ff0dde04749c5d89e77d8e40
ESX410-201312001 contains ESX410-201312401-SG

ESX 4.0
md5sum: 9d47cf815ed142a17f97002379b5e386
sha1sum: 91082ec4263333f9b996883cb53dbe9aab7a88b5
ESX400-201310001 contains ESX400-201310401-SG

6. Change log
2013-12-22 VMSA-2013-0016
Initial security advisory in conjunction with the release of ESXi 5.5 patches on 2013-12-22
7. Contact

E-mail list for product security notifications and announcements:

This Security Advisory is posted to the following lists:

* security-announce at
* bugtraq at
* full-disclosure at

E-mail: security at
PGP key at:

VMware Security Advisories

VMware security response policy

General support life cycle policy

VMware Infrastructure support life cycle policy

Mar 10

VMware Security Hardening Guides

Security Hardening Guides provide prescriptive guidance for customers on how to deploy and operate VMware products in a secure manner. Guides for vSphere are provided in an easy to consume spreadsheet format, with rich metadata to allow for guideline classification and risk assessment. They also include script examples for enabling security automation. Comparison documents are provided that list changes in guidance in successive versions of the guide.

Hardening Guides

vSphere 6.0

vSphere 5.5 Update 1

vSphere 5.5

vSphere 5.1

vSphere 5.0 and earlier

Other VMware Products

Mar 10

VMware vCloud Director Security Hardening Guide


The VMware® vCloud™ Director Security Hardening Guide helps users who are embarking into the journey of cloud computing understand key security elements and technologies found in VMware’s vCloud Director product. It also provides guidelines and best practices for installation, configuration and operation of secure clouds based on VMware’s vCloud Director.

Latest Revision:
Sep 10, 2010


vCloud Director Security Hardening Guide Technical White Paper

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