Forget Apple: Oracle to bring Java security fixes directly to Mac users
Macs are finally welcome to the regular Java update train.
By Santhosh Reddy WILLY
Oracle released Java SE 7 Update 4 this week, which finally gives Mac owners the means to receive critical Java security patches at the same time they’re available for users of Windows and Linux operating systems. The new release means that OS X should be receiving regular Java updates directly from the source—helping to prevent attacks like the recent Flashback infection—as well as a fully supported Java development environment.
Before this week, Apple built and released a version of Java for OS X on its own, and often lagged weeks or months behind Oracle in pushing out updates that patched serious security holes. However, Apple deprecated its own Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and other tools in 2010. Though the company committed to maintaining Java for Leopard and Snow Leopard, it warned that “developers should not rely on the Apple-supplied Java runtime being present in future versions of Mac OS X.”
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained the reasoning behind the change in an e-mail to a concerned Java developer in late 2010. “Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms,” Jobs reportedly wrote. “They have their own release schedules, which are almost always different than ours, so the Java we ship is always a version behind. This may not be the best way to do it.”
In other words, Oracle was responsible for Java development on Windows, Linux, and other platforms, and would be going forward for OS X as well.
However, updates for Java on the Mac continued to lag behind other platforms. This lag is largely responsible for the recent Flashback trojan infection which created a botnet of more than half a million Macs. Though Oracle had long since patched the hole that was exploited for the attack, the patch hadn’t made its way into versions for Snow Leopard or Lion.
Beginning in the latest update to Java SE 7, however, Oracle has made OS X (from Lion forward) a fully supported platform for both Java deployment—including a Java Platform 1.7 compliant JVM—and Java development. Update 4 includes a full OS X version of the Java Development Kit (JDK) and JavaFX 2.1.
According to Henrik Stahl, Oracle’s senior director of Product Management for the Java platform, there are some remaining issues related to packaging and debugging tools, and the Java Plugin and Web Start features “will be added in subsequent releases.” Still, Oracle JDK and Java FX are “considered standard Oracle releases” and are fully supported.
“Future release of the Oracle JDK and JavaFX on Mac will follow the normal JDK release train with 4-6 releases every year,” Stahl wrote on his blog. “The next major milestone is JDK 7 Update 6 where we plan to add support for Plugin and Web Start. JDK 8 will of course also support Mac OS X.”
Until the Web plugin is available from Oracle, however, Mac users may still be vulnerable to attacks based on Java exploits. Users who don’t update to Oracle’s version and still rely on Apple’s deprecated version, could face a similar security vulnerability. The good news is that Oracle offers automated update tools, so applying patches should be a no-brainer for Lion users and beyond from now on.
By Santhosh Reddy WILLY :
July 10 , 2012 .
A new Web-based social engineering attack that relies on malicious Java applets attempts to install backdoors on Windows, Linux and Mac computers, according to security researchers from antivirus vendors F-Secure and Kaspersky Lab.
The attack was detected on a compromised website in Colombia, F-Secure senior analyst Karmina Aquino, said in a blog post on Monday. When users visit the site, they are prompted to run a Java applet that hasn’t been signed by a trusted certificate authority.
If allowed to run, the applet checks which operating system is running on the user’s computer — Windows, Mac OS X or Linux — and drops a malicious binary file for the corresponding platform.
The files are detected by F-Secure as “Backdoor:OSX/GetShell.A,” “Backdoor:Linux/GetShell.A” and “Backdoor:W32/GetShell.A.” Their purpose is to connect to a command-and-control server and look for additional malicious code to download and execute.
However, since F-Secure researchers began monitoring the attack, the remote control server hasn’t pushed any additional code, Aquino said.
It appears that the attack uses the Social Engineer Toolkit (SET), a publicly available tool designed for penetration testers, Aquino said Tuesday via email. However, the chances of this being a penetration test sanctioned by the website’s owner are relatively low.
“I don’t think it’s a penetration test,” Costin Raiu, director of the global research and analysis team at antivirus vendor Kaspersky Lab, said Tuesday via email.
Kaspersky’s researchers are monitoring two separate websites that contain this malware, Raiu said. One is the Colombian website also found by F-Secure, while the second belongs to a water park in Barcelona, Spain.
The presence of the malware on a second website in Spain indicates that this attack is not specific to Colombia or a particular entity, Raiu said.
Kaspersky’s researchers are in the process of analyzing the backdoor-type malware downloaded by the malicious shell code on Windows and Linux.
“The Win32 backdoor is large, about 600KB; the Linux backdoor is over 1MB in size,” Raiu said. “Both appear to contact very complex code which communicates encrypted with other servers.”
This is not the first time that security researchers have discovered a multi-platform attack. In 2010, a similar Java-applet-based social engineering attack capable of executing malicious code on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux computers, was used to distribute the Boonana Trojan program.
“Such multiplatform attacks indicate the fact that Linux and Mac OS X are becoming interesting targets for cybercriminals,” Raiu said.
Other malware authors might move to this type of attacks in the future because it allow them to target more users and distribute their creations more widely, Aquino said.
- Java-based Web attack installs backdoors on Windows, Linux, Mac computers (techworld.com.au)
By Santhosh Reddy WILLY : JULY 2012
A Critical Patch Update is a collection of patches for multiple security vulnerabilities. The Critical Patch Update for Java SE also includes non-security fixes. Critical Patch Updates are cumulative and each advisory describes only the security fixes added since the previous Critical Patch Update. Thus, prior Critical Patch Update Advisories should be reviewed for information regarding earlier accumulated security fixes. Please refer to:
Critical Patch Updates and Security Alerts for information about Oracle Security Advisories.
Due to the threat posed by a successful attack, Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply CPU fixes as soon as possible. This Critical Patch Update contains 14 new security fixes across Java SE products.
Supported Products Affected
Security vulnerabilities addressed by this Critical Patch Update affect the products listed in the categories below. Please click on the link in the Patch Availability column or in the Patch Availability Table to access the documentation for those patches.
Affected product releases and versions:
|Java SE||Patch Availability
|JDK and JRE 7 Update 4 and earlier||Java SE|
|JDK and JRE 6 Update 32 and earlier||Java SE|
|JDK and JRE 5.0 Update 35 and earlier||Java SE|
|SDK and JRE 1.4.2_37 and earlier||Java SE|
|JavaFX 2.1 and earlier||JavaFX|
Patch Availability Table and Risk Matrix
Java SE fixes in this Update are cumulative; the latest Critical Patch Update includes all fixes from the previous Critical Patch Updates.
|Product Group||Risk Matrix||Patch Availability and Installation Information|
|Oracle Java SE||Oracle JDK and JRE Risk Matrix||
The risk matrix lists only security vulnerabilities that are newly fixed by the patches associated with this advisory. Risk matrices for previoussecurity fixes can be found in previous Critical Patch Update advisories.
Security vulnerabilities are scored using CVSS version 2.0 (see Oracle CVSS Scoring for an explanation of how Oracle applies CVSS 2.0). Oracle conducts an analysis of each security vulnerability addressed by a Critical Patch Update (CPU). Oracle does not disclose information about the security analysis, but the resulting Risk Matrix and associated documentation provide information about the type of vulnerability, the conditions required to exploit it, and the potential result of a successful exploit. Oracle provides this information, in part, so that customers may conduct their own risk analysis based on the particulars of their product usage. As a matter of policy, Oracle does not disclose detailed information about an exploit condition or results that can be used to conduct a successful exploit. Oracle will not provide additional information about the specifics of vulnerabilities beyond what is provided in the CPU or Security Alert notification, the Patch Availability Document, the readme files, and FAQs. Oracle does not provide advance notification on CPUs or Security Alerts to individual customers. Finally, Oracle does not distribute exploit code or “proof-of-concept” code for product vulnerabilities.
Due to the threat posed by a successful attack, Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply CPU fixes as soon as possible. Until you apply the CPU fixes, it may be possible to reduce the risk of successful attack by restricting network protocols required by an attack. For attacks that require certain privileges or access to certain packages, removing the privileges or the ability to access the packages from unprivileged users may help reduce the risk of successful attack. Both approaches may break application functionality, so Oracle strongly recommends that customers test changes on non-production systems. Neither approach should be considered a long-term solution as neither corrects the underlying problem.
Skipped Critical Patch Updates
Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply fixes as soon as possible. For customers that have skipped one or more Security advisories, please review previous advisories to determine appropriate actions.
Unsupported Products and De-Supported Versions
Unsupported products, releases and versions are not tested for the presence of vulnerabilities addressed by this Critical Patch Update. However, it is likely that earlier versions of affected releases are also affected by these vulnerabilities. Hence Oracle recommends that customers upgrade their Oracle products to a supported version.
Critical Patch Update patches are not provided for product versions that are no longer supported. We recommend that customers upgrade to the latest supported version of Oracle products in order to obtain patches.
The following people or organizations reported security vulnerabilities addressed by this Critical Patch Update to Oracle: Adam Gowdiak of Security Explorations; Andrei Costin via Secunia; Chris Ries via TippingPoint; and Clayton Smith of Entrust.
Oracle Java SE Critical Patch Update Schedule
The next three dates for Oracle Java SE Critical Patch Updates are:
- 16 October 2012
- 19 February 2013
- 18 June 2013
- Oracle Critical Patch Updates and Security Alerts main page [ Oracle Technology Network ]
- Oracle Critical Patch Updates and Security Alerts – Frequently Asked Questions [ CPU FAQ ]
- Risk Matrix definitions [ Risk Matrix Definitions ]
- Use of Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) by Oracle [ Oracle CVSS Scoring ]
- English text version of risk matrices [ Oracle Technology Network ]
- Previous Security Advisories for Java SE Security Updates [ Java Sun Alerts Archive Page ]
|2012-June-12||Rev 1. Initial Release|
Appendix – Oracle Java SE
Oracle Java SE Executive Summary
This Critical Patch Update contains 14 new security fixes for Oracle Java SE. 12 of these vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication, i.e., may be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password. The English text form of this Risk Matrix can be found here.
The CVSS scores below assume that a user running a Java applet or Java Web Start application has administrator privileges (typical on Windows). When the user does not run with administrator privileges (typical on Solaris and Linux), the corresponding CVSS impact scores for Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability are “Partial” instead of “Complete”, lowering the CVSS Base Score. For example, a Base Score of 10.0 becomes 7.5.
For issues in Deployment, fixes are only made available for JDK and JRE 7 and 6. Users should use the default Java Plug-in and Java Web Start in the latest JDK and JRE 7 or 6 releases.
My Oracle Support Note 360870.1 explains the impact of Java security vulnerabilities on Oracle products that include an Oracle Java SE JDK or JRE.
Oracle Java SE Risk Matrix
- Oracle to release 88 security fixes (techworld.com.au)
- Oracle to release 88 security updates on Tuesday (h-online.com)
- Oracle to patch 14 critical Java SE holes on Tuesday (h-online.com)
- [SE-2012-01] Regarding Oracle’s Critical Patch Update for Java SE (seclists.org)
- Moving to Java 7 as default (blogs.oracle.com)
ORACLE CERTIFICATION PROGRAMMING CHANGED .
Java Certification Exams and Their Move to Pearson VUE
It is important that you create a Pearson VUE account now so that you can continue to register for Oracle Certification exams:
- Go to MyAccount on Pearson VUE and select Create A New Web Account and follow the prompts to create a profile and enter your contact information. See our tutorial video as well as these detailed steps for reference.
- IMPORTANT: Be sure to enter your profile and contact information on the next screens as it exists in your Oracle profile at CertManager, as the system will perform an automated process to match the record you are creating with the record that was uploaded from Oracle.
- If Pearson VUE is not able to match your record, you will be placed in a queue and will be contacted by Pearson VUE within 72 hours for verification.
Also, if you schedule a Java, Oracle Solaris (Cluster), MySQL, or NetBeans exam with Pearson VUE between May 16, 2011 and August 1, 2011, you will receive access to a set of practice questions at no cost. For more information, view our full announcement and Frequently Asked Questions online at certification.oracle.com.
You may be aware that Oracle recently migrated all Sun-branded certification exams from Prometric to Pearson VUE. Below are answers to some frequently-asked questions that we’ve been getting recently:
For more details certification menu on the top of the page
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