VMWare Player 7.1.3 DLL Hijacking

VMWare Player version 7.1.3 suffers from a dll hijacking vulnerability.

MD5 | 1fc470ced3a5495203d14e2c759426c0

Hi @ll,

on February 13, 2016, I sent a vulnerability report regarding the
then current executable installer of VMware-player 7.1.3 to its

On September 14, 2016, VMware published
<http://blogs.vmware.com/security/2016/09/vmsa-2016-0014.html> and

I was NOT AMUSED that it took 7 month to fix this beginner's error.

In January 2018, VMware published VMware-player-12.5.9-7535481.exe,
available via <https://www.vmware.com/go/downloadplayer> from
which shows this vulnerability again (plus THREE others), again
allowing arbitrary code execution WITH escalation of privilege!

Apparently VMware's developers haven't heard of regression tests
yet, and their QA (if they have one) seems sound asleep!

On a fully patched Windows 7 SP1, VMware-player-12.5.9-7535481.exe
loads CredSSP.dll, WSHTCPIP.dll, WSHIP6.dll and RASAdHlp.dll from
its "application directory", typically the user's "Downloads"
directory "%USERPROFILE%\Downloads", instead from Windows'
"system directory" "%SystemRoot%\System32".

For this well-known and well-documented vulnerability see
<https://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/426.html> and
<https://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/427.html> plus

The application manifest embedded in VMware-player-12.5.9-7535481.exe
specifies "requireAdministrator", so any (rogue) DLL placed by the
unprivileged user in the "Downloads" directory is executed with
administrative rights, resulting in arbitrary code execution WITH
escalation of privilege.

CVSS v3 Base Score: 8.2 (High) CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:R/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H
CVSS v2 Base Score: 7.8 AV:L/AC:M/Au:N/C:C/I:C/A:C

Demonstration/proof of concept:

1. follow the instructions from
and build a minefield of 32-bit forwarder DLLs in your "Downloads"

2. download
and save it in your "Downloads" directory;

3. execute VMware-player-12.5.9-7535481.exe: notice the message
boxes displayed from the DLLs built in step 1!

stay tuned (and FAR away from ALL executable installers!)
Stefan Kanthak


2018-06-03 vulnerability report(s) sent to vendor

2018-06-13 vendor acknowledged receipt:
"We will look into this and provide feedback in due course."

2018-06-14 vendor replies:
"It is my understanding that Workstation Player 12.x has
since reached end of general support (in February of 2018)
as per our Lifecycle Product Matrix

2018-08-01 report published

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