U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate

Discussion in 'Java' started by emf, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. emf

    emf Guest

    U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate

    By Jim Finkle | Reuters – 14 hrs ago

    (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security urged computer
    users to disable Oracle Corp's Java software, amplifying security
    experts' prior warnings to hundreds of millions of consumers and
    businesses that use it to surf the Web.

    Hackers have figured out how to exploit Java to install malicious
    software enabling them to commit crimes ranging from identity theft to
    making an infected computer part of an ad-hoc network of computers that
    can be used to attack websites.

    "We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem," the
    Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team said
    in a posting on its website late on Thursday.

    "This and previous Java vulnerabilities have been widely targeted by
    attackers, and new Java vulnerabilities are likely to be discovered,"
    the agency said. "To defend against this and future Java
    vulnerabilities, disable Java in Web browsers."

    Oracle declined on Friday to comment on the warning.

    Java is a computer language that enables programmers to write software
    utilizing just one set of code that will run on virtually any type of
    computer, including ones that use Microsoft Corp's Windows, Apple Inc's
    OS X and Linux, an operating system widely employed by corporations.

    Computer users access Java programs through modules, or plug-ins, that
    run Java software on top of browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox.

    The U.S. government's warning on Java came after security experts warned
    on Thursday of the newly discovered flaw.

    It is relatively rare for government agencies to advise computer users
    to completely disable software due to a security bug, particularly in
    the case of widely used programs such as Java. They typically recommend
    taking steps to mitigate the risk of attack while manufacturers prepare
    an update, or hold off on publicizing the problem until an update is
    prepared.

    In September, the German government advised the public to temporarily
    stop using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to give it time to
    patch a security vulnerability that opened it to attacks.

    Java is so widely used that the software has become a prime target for
    hackers. Last year Oracle's Java surpassed Adobe Systems Inc's Reader
    software as the most frequently attacked piece of software, according to
    security software maker Kaspersky Lab.

    Java was responsible for 50 percent of all cyber attacks last year in
    which hackers broke into computers by exploiting software bugs,
    according Kaspersky. That was followed by Adobe Reader, which was
    involved in 28 percent of all incidents. Microsoft Windows and Internet
    Explorer were involved in about 3 percent of incidents, according to the
    survey.

    The Department of Homeland Security said attackers could trick targets
    into visiting malicious websites that would infect their PCs with
    software capable of exploiting the bug in Java.

    It said an attacker could also infect a legitimate website by uploading
    malicious software that would infect machines of computer users who
    trust that site because they have previously visited it without
    experiencing any problems.

    They said developers of several popular tools, known as exploit kits,
    which criminal hackers use to attack PCs, have added software that
    allows hackers to exploit the newly discovered bug in Java to attack
    computers.

    Security experts have been scrutinizing the safety of Java since a
    similar security scare in August, which prompted some of them to advise
    using the software only on an as-needed basis.

    At the time they advised businesses to allow their workers to use Java
    browser plug-ins only when prompted for permission by trusted programs
    such as GoToMeeting, a Web-based collaboration tool from Citrix Systems Inc.

    Java suffered another setback in October when Apple began removing old
    versions of the software from Internet browsers of Mac computers when
    its customers installed new versions of its OS X operating system. Apple
    did not provide a reason for the change and both companies declined to
    comment at the time.

    Adam Gowdiak, a researcher with Polish security firm Security
    Explorations, told Reuters he believes that Oracle fails to properly
    test its software fixes for security flaws. "It's definitely safer for
    users to stay away from Java 'til Oracle starts taking security
    seriously," he said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/government-warns-java-security-concerns-escalate-160640366--sector.html
    emf, Jan 12, 2013
    #1
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  2. emf

    Stefan Ram Guest

    emf <> writes:
    >In September, the German government advised the public to temporarily
    >stop using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to give it time to
    >patch a security vulnerability that opened it to attacks.


    Recent versions of IE do not seem to enable the user to
    disable the Java plug-in. Although the software settings
    might suggest the plug-in to be disabled, it is not, as one
    can see when one visits a page with an applet. So, this only
    leaves the possibility to uninstall Java completely (given
    that on Windows it is hard to totally avoid using the IE).
    Stefan Ram, Jan 12, 2013
    #2
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  3. On 1/12/2013 7:48 AM, emf wrote:
    > U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate
    >
    > By Jim Finkle | Reuters – 14 hrs ago
    >
    > (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security urged computer
    > users to disable Oracle Corp's Java software, amplifying security
    > experts' prior warnings to hundreds of millions of consumers and
    > businesses that use it to surf the Web.
    >
    > Hackers have figured out how to exploit Java to install malicious
    > software enabling them to commit crimes ranging from identity theft to
    > making an infected computer part of an ad-hoc network of computers that
    > can be used to attack websites.
    >
    > "We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem," the
    > Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team said
    > in a posting on its website late on Thursday.
    >
    > "This and previous Java vulnerabilities have been widely targeted by
    > attackers, and new Java vulnerabilities are likely to be discovered,"
    > the agency said. "To defend against this and future Java
    > vulnerabilities, disable Java in Web browsers."
    >
    > Oracle declined on Friday to comment on the warning.
    >
    > Java is a computer language that enables programmers to write software
    > utilizing just one set of code that will run on virtually any type of
    > computer, including ones that use Microsoft Corp's Windows, Apple Inc's
    > OS X and Linux, an operating system widely employed by corporations.
    >
    > Computer users access Java programs through modules, or plug-ins, that
    > run Java software on top of browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox.
    >
    > The U.S. government's warning on Java came after security experts warned
    > on Thursday of the newly discovered flaw.
    >
    > It is relatively rare for government agencies to advise computer users
    > to completely disable software due to a security bug, particularly in
    > the case of widely used programs such as Java. They typically recommend
    > taking steps to mitigate the risk of attack while manufacturers prepare
    > an update, or hold off on publicizing the problem until an update is
    > prepared.
    >
    > In September, the German government advised the public to temporarily
    > stop using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to give it time to
    > patch a security vulnerability that opened it to attacks.
    >
    > Java is so widely used that the software has become a prime target for
    > hackers. Last year Oracle's Java surpassed Adobe Systems Inc's Reader
    > software as the most frequently attacked piece of software, according to
    > security software maker Kaspersky Lab.
    >
    > Java was responsible for 50 percent of all cyber attacks last year in
    > which hackers broke into computers by exploiting software bugs,
    > according Kaspersky. That was followed by Adobe Reader, which was
    > involved in 28 percent of all incidents. Microsoft Windows and Internet
    > Explorer were involved in about 3 percent of incidents, according to the
    > survey.
    >
    > The Department of Homeland Security said attackers could trick targets
    > into visiting malicious websites that would infect their PCs with
    > software capable of exploiting the bug in Java.
    >
    > It said an attacker could also infect a legitimate website by uploading
    > malicious software that would infect machines of computer users who
    > trust that site because they have previously visited it without
    > experiencing any problems.
    >
    > They said developers of several popular tools, known as exploit kits,
    > which criminal hackers use to attack PCs, have added software that
    > allows hackers to exploit the newly discovered bug in Java to attack
    > computers.
    >
    > Security experts have been scrutinizing the safety of Java since a
    > similar security scare in August, which prompted some of them to advise
    > using the software only on an as-needed basis.
    >
    > At the time they advised businesses to allow their workers to use Java
    > browser plug-ins only when prompted for permission by trusted programs
    > such as GoToMeeting, a Web-based collaboration tool from Citrix Systems
    > Inc.
    >
    > Java suffered another setback in October when Apple began removing old
    > versions of the software from Internet browsers of Mac computers when
    > its customers installed new versions of its OS X operating system. Apple
    > did not provide a reason for the change and both companies declined to
    > comment at the time.
    >
    > Adam Gowdiak, a researcher with Polish security firm Security
    > Explorations, told Reuters he believes that Oracle fails to properly
    > test its software fixes for security flaws. "It's definitely safer for
    > users to stay away from Java 'til Oracle starts taking security
    > seriously," he said.
    >
    > http://news.yahoo.com/government-warns-java-security-concerns-escalate-160640366--sector.html


    1) This related to applets only, so 99.9% (or something in that
    magnitude) of Java usage is not affected.

    2) Avoiding/uninstalling Java therefore seems completely
    unwarranted. It may make sense to disable Java in your
    browser if you do not need it.

    3) All types of "active" web content has had problems. Java applets,
    Adobe Flash, MS SilverLight, JavaScript, Adobe Acrobat Reader etc..
    I will predict that there will also be found new problems in the
    future for each of these - that include Java applets.

    4) Disabling all of these permanently will reduce the web experience
    to an almost unusable state. But people need to do some things:
    surf the web on a non prived account, use anti-malware software,
    keep all software uptodate with patches, disable software not used
    etc..

    5) The last year has not been good for Java security wise. Maybe Oracle
    should focus a bit on security for the next year.

    Arne
    Arne Vajhøj, Jan 12, 2013
    #3
  4. emf

    Stefan Ram Guest

    =?UTF-8?B?QXJuZSBWYWpow7hq?= <> writes:
    >2) Avoiding/uninstalling Java therefore seems completely
    > unwarranted. It may make sense to disable Java in your
    > browser if you do not need it.


    I have explained this in my preceding post.
    Stefan Ram, Jan 12, 2013
    #4
  5. emf

    RVic Guest

    Is it only the browser plugin

    Is it only a specific version?

    Is it only Oracle or other Javas as well?

    Thank you
    RVic, Jan 12, 2013
    #5
  6. emf

    Arne Vajhøj Guest

    On 1/12/2013 11:00 AM, RVic wrote:
    > Is it only the browser plugin


    It only relates to when Java is restricted by a security
    manager (sandboxed). For practically purposes that means browser.

    > Is it only a specific version?


    Some sources say that it is only Java 7 and not Java 6.

    But according to:

    http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2013-0422

    then it is all versions.

    > Is it only Oracle or other Javas as well?


    It is an implementation bug, so other Java implementation do not
    need to be vulnerable.

    But many other Java implementations share code with Oracle
    either via open source OpenJDK or commercial licenses.

    Unless you have a statement from the vendor that they
    do not have the bug, then I would assume it does.

    I have seen sources claim that IcedTea is not vulnerable,
    but you should not believe everything read on the
    internet!

    :)

    Arne
    Arne Vajhøj, Jan 12, 2013
    #6
  7. emf

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Sat, 12 Jan 2013 07:48:51 -0500, emf <> wrote,
    quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :

    >U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate


    see http://mindprod.com/jgloss\0dayexploit.html
    --
    Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
    Students who hire or con others to do their homework are as foolish
    as couch potatoes who hire others to go to the gym for them.
    Roedy Green, Jan 12, 2013
    #7
  8. emf

    Arne Vajhøj Guest

    On 1/12/2013 1:38 PM, Roedy Green wrote:
    > On Sat, 12 Jan 2013 07:48:51 -0500, emf <> wrote,
    > quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :
    >
    >> U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate

    >
    > see http://mindprod.com/jgloss\0dayexploit.html


    \ or / that is the question.

    :)

    Arne
    Arne Vajhøj, Jan 12, 2013
    #8
  9. emf

    Hiram Hunt Guest

    "emf" <> wrote in message
    news:kcrlqe$noj$...
    > U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate
    > ...


    A check at Oracle shows that 7u11 is here. I have not tried it.
    They say:
    >
    > Java SE 7u11
    >
    > This release includes important security fixes. Oracle strongly recommends
    > that all Java SE 7 users
    > upgrade to this release.


    -- Hiram Hunt ()
    Hiram Hunt, Jan 13, 2013
    #9
  10. emf

    Rajiv Gupta Guest

    On 2013-01-12 23:48:51 +1100, emf said:

    Re: Neo COBOL.

    Browser manufacturers should stop supporting Java. Applets are a dead
    technology which hardly anybody uses (except for criminals).

    Java is irrelevant to the vast majority of computer users. Its
    irrelevance should be cemented by deleting support for it.

    The sooner universities stop teaching Java the better the world will be.
    Rajiv Gupta, Jan 15, 2013
    #10
  11. emf

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Sat, 12 Jan 2013 07:48:51 -0500, emf <> wrote,
    quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :

    >U.S. warns on Java software as security concerns escalate


    I just got hit by a virus, the first time ever. It was what the RCMP
    call "scareware". It suddenly popped up, locked screen, claiming I
    had broken some law and must wire them $100 to unlock my computer.
    If I failed to do so within 24 hours they would erase my hard drives.
    They would also erase them it detected any attempts to remove it.

    I follow all the usual rules to avoid infection. I figure it must have
    got via running an unsigned Java applet or some JavaScript code.

    Any way I got rid of it by booting to safe mode and running the Ace
    Utilities and had a look at code configured to run at startup. I
    noticed a suspicious runcff.lnk from Microsoft, disabled it and all
    seems to be ok.

    The police were very ho hum, saying there were a rash of such attacks,
    and they wanted to treat them like ordinary virus attacks. I guess
    they figured nobody would be stupid enough to fall for the extortion.
    Apparently some variants claim to have found kiddie porn or accuse of
    random crimes.
    --
    Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
    The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time.
    The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development
    time.
    ~ Tom Cargill Ninety-ninety Law
    Roedy Green, Jan 15, 2013
    #11
  12. emf

    Lew Guest

    Rajiv Gupta wrote:
    > Browser manufacturers should stop supporting Java. Applets are a dead
    > technology which hardly anybody uses (except for criminals).
    >
    > Java is irrelevant to the vast majority of computer users. Its
    > irrelevance should be cemented by deleting support for it.
    >
    > The sooner universities stop teaching Java the better the world will be.


    Troll much?

    --
    Lew
    Lew, Jan 15, 2013
    #12
  13. emf

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Tue, 15 Jan 2013 15:22:07 +1100, Rajiv Gupta <>
    wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :

    >Browser manufacturers should stop supporting Java. Applets are a dead
    >technology which hardly anybody uses (except for criminals).


    Applets are an inherently much superior technology for client side
    computing. Nothing else has a sandbox. Nothing else is so scrupulous
    about signing for dangerous code. Nothing else is so compact.
    Browsers don't load the Java engine at start up, which made them
    appear slower than they really are. Even that has been fixed with
    smarter JVMs that hang around as DLLs.

    Compared with every other technology they have been remarkably malware
    free. I use them all the time on my website. See
    http://mindprod.com/aplets/applet.html
    I am not a criminal. I don't think you know the first thing about
    Applets. You are just repeating something read somewhere.


    --
    Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
    The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time.
    The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development
    time.
    ~ Tom Cargill Ninety-ninety Law
    Roedy Green, Jan 15, 2013
    #13
  14. emf

    Roedy Green Guest

    On Tue, 15 Jan 2013 06:47:13 -0800, Patricia Shanahan <>
    wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :

    >The scary thing about this is how much it could cost in support service
    >fees for an ordinary computer user who does not know how to boot in safe
    >mode etc.


    After I had done that I ran a Security Essentials which detected it
    and removed it. I did not run that right off figuring it might
    trigger its revenge. The full story is at
    http://mindprod.com/jgloss/scareware.html

    My next line of defence would have been to boot from a different disk
    and run the security scan from there. Getting rid of it turned out to
    be one of the easiest computer problems I ever solved. The very first
    thing I tried worked. I have backups of all my data and
    configurations, so the threat of a formatting was not all that
    terrifying, just onerous reinstalling.

    I am still puzzled how it got in. I am used to hearing scare stories
    about Java vulnerabilities, which are just theoretical holes that no
    one actually got around to exploiting. This one could well be just
    that. I have my security level low to let me run my own Applets.
    Security does not distinguish between local, trusted and untrusted
    sites.

    It is not on my room mate's machine.

    Microsoft has a rogues' gallery. They had it described to a T with
    screenshots, but it did not discus how it attacks.

    --
    Roedy Green Canadian Mind Products http://mindprod.com
    The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time.
    The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development
    time.
    ~ Tom Cargill Ninety-ninety Law
    Roedy Green, Jan 15, 2013
    #14
  15. emf

    Arne Vajhøj Guest

    On 1/15/2013 5:23 PM, Roedy Green wrote:
    > Applets are an inherently much superior technology for client side
    > computing. Nothing else has a sandbox.


    Nothing else does not have a sandbox.

    Flash, SilverLight, JavaScript, Google Native Client all
    use some type of sandbox.

    > Compared with every other technology they have been remarkably malware
    > free.


    We just had one.

    And there were another one just a half year ago.

    Tools to exploit those are known to exist.

    Arne
    Arne Vajhøj, Jan 16, 2013
    #15
  16. emf

    Rajiv Gupta Guest

    On 2013-01-16 09:23:29 +1100, Roedy Green said:

    > On Tue, 15 Jan 2013 15:22:07 +1100, Rajiv Gupta <>
    > wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :
    >
    >> Browser manufacturers should stop supporting Java. Applets are a dead
    >> technology which hardly anybody uses (except for criminals).

    >
    > Applets are an inherently much superior technology for client side
    > computing. Nothing else has a sandbox. Nothing else is so scrupulous
    > about signing for dangerous code. Nothing else is so compact.
    > Browsers don't load the Java engine at start up, which made them
    > appear slower than they really are. Even that has been fixed with
    > smarter JVMs that hang around as DLLs.


    The closed mindedness and general ignorance of Java fanatics never
    ceases to amaze.

    As for the Java sandbox, the real problem is that the sandbox is
    implemented inside the VM itself, in Java (via the SecurityManager),
    and the Java runtime is poorly equipped to secure itself against itself.

    Contrast this with the sandboxing model the CLR uses, where access
    grants can only originate from outside of the VM -- it is impossible,
    by design, for managed code to enable grants that the VM itself was not
    externally configured to provide.
    Rajiv Gupta, Jan 17, 2013
    #16
  17. emf

    Lew Guest

    Rajiv Gupta wrote:
    > The closed mindedness [sic] and general ignorance of Java fanatics never
    > ceases to amaze.


    Troll much?

    --
    Lew
    Lew, Jan 17, 2013
    #17
  18. emf

    Rajiv Gupta Guest

    On 2013-01-17 12:01:54 +1100, Lew said:

    > Rajiv Gupta wrote:
    >> The closed mindedness [sic] and general ignorance of Java fanatics never
    >> ceases to amaze.

    >
    > Troll much?


    I notice that you completely ignored the factual technical information
    I provied.

    Head in sand much?
    Rajiv Gupta, Jan 17, 2013
    #18
  19. On 1/16/2013 6:47 PM, Rajiv Gupta wrote:
    > Contrast this with the sandboxing model the CLR uses, where access
    > grants can only originate from outside of the VM -- it is impossible, by
    > design, for managed code to enable grants that the VM itself was not
    > externally configured to provide.


    You clearly do not understand the Java security management policy. It is
    very much possible to request JVMs to lock down the policy in such a way
    that the JVM cannot grant itself access. But why let facts get in the
    way of attacking Java?

    --
    Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not
    tried it. -- Donald E. Knuth
    Joshua Cranmer, Jan 17, 2013
    #19
  20. emf

    Jim Janney Guest

    Roedy Green <> writes:

    > On Tue, 15 Jan 2013 15:22:07 +1100, Rajiv Gupta <>
    > wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :
    >
    >>Browser manufacturers should stop supporting Java. Applets are a dead
    >>technology which hardly anybody uses (except for criminals).

    >
    > Applets are an inherently much superior technology for client side
    > computing. Nothing else has a sandbox. Nothing else is so scrupulous
    > about signing for dangerous code. Nothing else is so compact.
    > Browsers don't load the Java engine at start up, which made them
    > appear slower than they really are. Even that has been fixed with
    > smarter JVMs that hang around as DLLs.
    >
    > Compared with every other technology they have been remarkably malware
    > free. I use them all the time on my website. See
    > http://mindprod.com/aplets/applet.html
    > I am not a criminal. I don't think you know the first thing about
    > Applets. You are just repeating something read somewhere.


    I usually think of applets as an interesting idea that somehow failed to
    catch on: the history of technology is full of such occurrences. The
    recent problems with the security manager are simple negligence on the
    part of Oracle.

    Other than applets, are there any classes of Java programs that rely on
    the security manager?

    --
    Jim Janney
    Jim Janney, Jan 17, 2013
    #20
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