VMSA-2018-0004 : VMware vSphere, Workstation and Fusion updates add Hypervisor-Assisted Guest Remediation for speculative execution issue (Spectre)

medium Nessus Plugin ID 105768


The remote VMware ESXi host is missing one or more security-related patches.


New speculative-execution control mechanism for Virtual Machines

Updates of vCenter Server, ESXi, Workstation and Fusion virtualize the new speculative-execution control mechanism for Virtual Machines (VMs). As a result, a patched Guest Operating System (Guest OS) can remediate the Branch Target Injection issue (CVE-2017-5715). This issue may allow for information disclosure between processes within the VM.

To remediate CVE-2017-5715 in the Guest OS the following VMware and third-party requirements must be met :

VMware Requirements

- Deploy the updated version of vCenter Server listed in the table (if vCenter Server is used).

- Deploy the ESXi patches and/or the new versions for Workstation or Fusion listed in the table.

- Ensure that your VMs are using Hardware Version 9 or higher. For best performance, Hardware Version 11 or higher is recommended.
VMware Knowledge Base article 1010675 discusses Hardware Versions.

Third-party Requirements

- Deploy the Guest OS patches for CVE-2017-5715. These patches are to be obtained from your OS vendor.

- Update the CPU microcode. Additional microcode is needed for your CPU to be able to expose the new MSRs that are used by the patched Guest OS. This microcode should be available from your hardware platform vendor.
VMware is providing several versions of the required microcode from INTEL and AMD through ESXi patches listed in the table. See VMware Knowledge Base 52085 for more details.


Apply the missing patches.

See Also


Plugin Details

Severity: Medium

ID: 105768

File Name: vmware_VMSA-2018-0004.nasl

Version: 3.10

Type: local

Published: 1/12/2018

Updated: 4/15/2021

Risk Information


Risk Factor: High

Score: 7.6


Risk Factor: Low

Base Score: 1.9

Temporal Score: 1.7

Vector: AV:L/AC:M/Au:N/C:P/I:N/A:N

Temporal Vector: E:H/RL:OF/RC:C


Risk Factor: Medium

Base Score: 5.6

Temporal Score: 5.4

Vector: CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:H/PR:L/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:N/A:N

Temporal Vector: E:H/RL:O/RC:C

Vulnerability Information

CPE: cpe:/o:vmware:esxi:5.5, cpe:/o:vmware:esxi:6.0, cpe:/o:vmware:esxi:6.5

Required KB Items: Host/local_checks_enabled, Host/VMware/release, Host/VMware/version

Exploit Available: true

Exploit Ease: Exploits are available

Patch Publication Date: 1/9/2018

Vulnerability Publication Date: 1/4/2018

Reference Information

CVE: CVE-2017-5715

VMSA: 2018-0004

IAVA: 2018-A-0020