- These vulnerabilities affect: Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and Java Development Kit (JDK) 7 Update 15 and earlier, on all platforms
- How an attacker exploits them: Typically by luring your users to a malicious web page containing specially crafted Java
- Impact: In the worst case, an attacker can gain complete control of your computer
- What to do: Install JRE and JDK 7 Update 17 (or Apple’s OS X update)
Java is a programming language (first implemented by Sun Microsystems) used most often to enhance web pages. Oracle’s Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is one of the most popular Java interpreters currently used.
I’ll keep this short since Oracle has been releasing many Java updates lately. Yesterday, Oracle released yet another emergency Java update to fix two critical vulnerabilities in the popular web plugin. By enticing you to a web site with malicious content, attackers can leverage these flaws to execute code on your computer, with your privileges. If you are an administrator, it’s game over.
Java is very dangerous right now. Attackers are currently leveraging these vulnerabilities in the wild. Other research organizations have also found additional Java vulnerabilities. Cyber criminals are even selling a Java exploit kit on the underground market. In short, this is an extremely important update for Java users. We highly recommend you apply Oracle’s emergency update immediately. In fact, if you can do without Java, I suggest you remove it from your computer.
In related news, Apple has also released a Java update for OS X. Mac users should update Java as well.
Oracle has released JRE and JDK Update 17 to correct these issues (as well as some legacy version updates). If you use Java, download and deploy the appropriate update immediately, or let Java’s automatic update do it for you. You’ll find more information on where to get the updates in the Patch Table section of Oracle’s alert.
Remember, attackers have heavily targeted Java lately. If you do not need Java in your organization, I suggest you remove it.
For All WatchGuard Users:
WatchGuard XTM appliances can often help protect you from these sorts of Java vulnerability in a number of ways:
- If you like, you can leverage our proxy policies to block Java applets. Keep in mind, this will block legitimate Java applets as well.
- WatchGuard constantly develops AV signatures to catch wild Java exploits. If you use our Gateway AntiViris (GAV) service, it can protect you from some of these attacks.
- WatchGuard’s IPS signature writers also develop generic Java signatures, which can block some variants of this attack.
- WebBlocker and WatchGuard’s Reputation Enabled Defense (RED) service both can prevent you from visiting the malicious drive-by download sites that leverage this sort of vulnerability.
Despite the XTM appliance’s many protections, we still recommend you download and install the Java update to completely protect yourself from these flaws. Better yet, don’t install Java if you don’t need it.
Oracle has issued updates to correct these issues.
This alert was researched and written by Corey Nachreiner, CISSP (@SecAdept)
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Need help with the jargon? Try the LiveSecurity Online Glossary.