Researchers Discover Critical Remote Code Execution Flaw in vm2 Sandbox Library

vm2 Sandbox Library

Apr 08, 2023Ravie LakshmananVulnerability / Software

The maintainers of the vm2 JavaScript sandbox module have shipped a patch to address a critical flaw that could be abused to break out of security boundaries and execute arbitrary shellcode.

The flaw, which affects all versions, including and prior to 3.9.14, was reported by researchers from South Korea-based KAIST WSP Lab on April 6, 2023, prompting vm2 to release a fix with version 3.9.15 on Friday.

“A threat actor can bypass the sandbox protections to gain remote code execution rights on the host running the sandbox,” vm2 disclosed in an advisory.

The vulnerability has been assigned the identified CVE-2023-29017 and is rated 9.8 on the CVSS scoring system. The issue stems from the fact that it does not properly handle errors that occur in asynchronous functions.

vm2 is a popular library that’s used to run untrusted code in an isolated environment on Node.js. It has nearly four million weekly downloads and is used in 721 packages.


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KAIST security researcher Seongil Wi has also made available two different variants of a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit for CVE-2023-29017 that get around the sandbox protections and allow the creation of an empty file named “flag” on the host.

The disclosure comes almost six months after vm2 resolved another critical bug (CVE-2022-36067, CVSS score: 10) that could have been weaponized to perform arbitrary operations on the underlying machine.

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