VMware Security Advisories

Advisory ID VMSA-2019-0018
Advisory Severity Moderate
CVSSv3 Range 6.8
Synopsis VMware vCenter Server Appliance updates address sensitive information disclosure vulnerability in backup and restore functions (CVE-2019-5537, CVE-2019-5538)
Issue Date 2019-10-24
Updated On 2019-10-24 (Initial Advisory)
CVE(s) CVE-2019-5537, CVE-2019-5538
1. Impacted Products

VMware vCenter Server Appliance

2. Introduction
Vulnerabilities in the File-Based Backup and Restore functions of vCenter Server Appliance were privately reported to the VMware Security Response Center. Updates are available which allow enablement of strict certificate validation to remediate these vulnerabilities.
3. VMware vCenter Server Appliance sensitive information disclosure vulnerabilities in File-Based Backup and Restore functions (CVE-2019-5537 and CVE-2019-5538)


Sensitive information disclosure vulnerabilities resulting from a lack of certificate validation during the File-Based Backup and Restore operations of VMware vCenter Server Appliance may allow a malicious actor to intercept sensitive data in transit over FTPS and HTTPS (CVE-2019-5537) as well as SCP (CVE-2019-5538). VMware has evaluated the severity of these issues to be in the Moderate severity range with a maximum CVSSv3 base score of 6.8.


Known Attack Vectors:

A malicious actor with man-in-the-middle positioning between vCenter Server Appliance and a backup target may be able to intercept sensitive data in transit during File-Based Backup and Restore operations.



To remediate CVE-2019-5537 and CVE-2019-5538 first apply the patches listed in the 'Fixed Version' column and then follow the instructions documented in KB75156 listed in the 'Additional Documentation' column found in the 'Resolution Matrix' below to enforce strict certificate validation.





Additional Documentation:

To avoid breaking currently configured File-Based Backup and Restore workflows, remediation of CVE-2019-5537 and CVE-2019-5538 is not enabled by default. After upgrading vCenter Server Appliance, follow the steps in KB75156 to enforce strict certificate validation.






VMware would like to thank Thorsten Tüllmann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and James Renken for independently reporting these issues to us.


Response Matrix:

Product Version Running On CVE Identifier CVSSV3 Severity Fixed Version Workarounds Additional Documents
vCenter Server Appliance 6.7 Virtual Appliance
CVE-2019-5537, CVE-2019-5538 6.8 Moderate 6.7u3a None KB75156
vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Virtual Appliance CVE-2019-5537, CVE-2019-5538 6.8 Moderate 6.5u3d None KB75156
vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 Virtual Appliance CVE-2019-5537, CVE-2019-5538 N/A N/A Unaffected None None
5. Change log

2019-10-24: VMSA-2019-0018 

Initial security advisory detailing remediations for CVE-2019-5537 and CVE-2019-5538 in VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.7u3a and 6.5u3d.


6. Contact


E-mail list for product security notifications and announcements:



This Security Advisory is posted to the following lists:





E-mail: security@vmware.com

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