VMware vCenter Server updates address a privilege escalation vulnerability (CVE-2021-22048)

A privilege escalation vulnerability in VMware Center Server was privately reported to VMware. Workarounds are available to remediate this vulnerability in the affected VMware products. The vCenter Server contains a privilege escalation vulnerability in the IWA (Integrated Windows Authentication) authentication mechanism. VMware has evaluated the severity of this issue to be in the Important severity range with a maximum CVSSv3 base score of 7.1.

Impacted Products

  • VMware vCenter Server (vCenter Server)
  • VMware Cloud Foundation (Cloud Foundation)


Workaround for CVE-2021-22048 is to switch to AD over LDAPS authentication/Identity Provider Federation for AD FS (vSphere 7.0 only) from Integrated Windows Authentication (IWA) as documented in the KB listed in the ‘Workarounds’ column of the ‘Response Matrix’ below.

At the time of publication on 12th November 2021, VMware has not issued a patch to resolve this issue.

Jason Davies

UK based technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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