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64-bit OS & virtualization software running on Intel CPU vulnerable to local privilege escalation


A critical security vulnerability has been discovered in the 64 bit operating system and virtualization software running on Intel CPU , which leads to privilege Escalation exploit or a guest-to-host virtual machine escape.

The problem affects 64-bit versions of Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and the Xen hypervisor. The flaw seems to only affect Intel hardware – AMDand ARM CPUs are not affected.

"A ring3 attacker may be able to specifically craft a stack frame to be executed by ring0 (kernel) after a general protection exception (#GP)."US-CERT's vulnerability report reads.

" The fault will be handled before the stack switch, which means the exception handler will be run at ring0 with an attacker's chosen RSP causing a privilege escalation. "

Metasploit penetration testing framework founder H.D. Moore characterized the bug as a "serious guest-to-host escape vulnerability," noting that while it affects the Xen platform, it doesn't affect VMware.

To this end, operating system specific details on the vulnerability have been published by Xen, FreeBSD and Microsoft. Linux vendor Red Hat has also published two updates on the problem: RHSA-2012:0720-1 and RHSA-2012:0721-1.

To close the security hole, users should apply updates from their operating system supplier.
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