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Network Security

Oracle Rushes Out New Java Zero-Day Patches

Oracle Rushes Out New Java Zero-Day Patches
March 5, 2013 2:08PM

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"The smart and safe approach to using Java is to use a two-browser approach so that you have one browser without Java for your daily Web surfing and use a different browser strictly for the use of Java," said security researcher Jerome Segura. "An even safer approach for enterprises is to use dedicated virtual machines for Web browsing with Java."

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Oracle just rolled out a new Database Appliance, complete with virtualization, but news of more Java security woes may be overshadowing the announcement. Oracle has released a new Java update to patch zero-day vulnerabilities.

According to Oracle, the Security Alert addresses security issues CVE-2013-1493 and another vulnerability affecting Java running in web browsers. Oracle was quick to point out that the vulnerabilities do not apply to Java running on servers, standalone Java desktop applications or embedded Java applications. They also do not affect Oracle server-based software.

"These vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication, i.e., they may be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password," Oracle said in its security alert. "For an exploit to be successful, an unsuspecting user running an affected release in a browser must visit a malicious web page that leverages these vulnerabilities. Successful exploits can impact the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of the user's system."

Skirting Java

"Recent attacks against Apple, Facebook and Twitter all used Java zero-days to penetrate the companies' networks and install Remote Administration Trojans," Malwarebytes researcher Jerome Segura told us. "What is important to realize is that no matter how up-to-date those systems were, even with anti-virus and firewall, they still got compromised. This shows just how dangerous Web exploits and zero-days are."

The most common advice is to remove or disable Java however, noted Segura, however many applications depend on Java and removing it would be a problem.

"The smart and safe approach to using Java is to use a two-browser approach so that you have one browser without Java for your daily Web surfing and use a different browser strictly for the use of Java," he said. "An even safer approach for enterprises is to use dedicated virtual machines for Web browsing with Java, and other plug-ins, for that matter."

Oracle Feeling Java Heat

Oracle has been working hard to keep Java patched in 2013. Oracle patched at least 55 flaws in Java in February. In January, Oracle offered a Java 7 update that fixed zero-day flaws that were being actively exploited in the wild.

"The company intended to include a fix for CVE-2013-1493 in the April 16, 2013, Critical Patch Update for Java SE (note that Oracle recently announced its intent to have an additional Java SE security release on this date in addition to those previously scheduled in June and October of 2013)," Eric Maurice, Oracle's director of Software Assurance, wrote in a blog post. "However, in light of the reports of active exploitation of CVE-2013-1493, and in order to help maintain the security posture of all Java SE users, Oracle decided to release a fix for this vulnerability and another closely related bug as soon as possible through this Security Alert."

Oracle and Maurice are feeling the heat. He said Oracle is committed to accelerating the release of security fixes for Java SE, particularly to help address the security-worthiness of Java running in browsers. The quick release of this Security Alert, the higher number of Java SE fixes included in recent Critical Patch Updates, he said, and the announcement of an additional security release date for Java SE -- the April 16 Critical Patch Update for Java SE -- are examples of that commitment.

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