The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency yesterday directed federal agencies to take emergency action to prevent cyber actors from exploiting critical vulnerabilities in VMware cloud service software products. VMware in April released an update to address the vulnerabilities, but threat actors quickly reverse engineered the update to exploit unpatched products, CISA said.

In other news, cybersecurity authorities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands and United Kingdom this week released an advisory on best practices to protect networks from commonly exploited security weaknesses. 

John Riggi, AHA’s national advisor for cybersecurity and risk, said, “Vmware is a very common cloud software service which is also widely present in private-sector organizations including health care. Although the emergency advisory issued by CISA only applies to government agencies, it is strongly recommended that health care entities and their life-critical and mission-critical third parties implement the provided patches as soon as possible. It is clear from the advisory that CISA anticipates immediate and active exploitation of this vulnerability by sophisticated cyber adversaries. These adversaries, which may include hostile nation states, may exploit this vulnerability to gain the ability for remote code execution and broad network access through administrative privileges without the need to authenticate. Once again, as we see in the CISA advisory and the second multi-agency alert, the bad guys will always take the path of least resistance — if we leave a digital door open through an unpatched vulnerability, they will come in without hesitation.” 

For more information on this or other cyber and risk issues, contact Riggi at jriggi@aha.org

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