Feeds

Six months on, Macs still plagued by critical Java vuln

No Java applets for you!

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More than six months after Sun Microsystems warned that a flaw in its Java virtual machine made it trivial for attackers to execute malware on end users' machines, the vulnerability remains unpatched on Apple's Mac platform.

Most other operating systems, including Windows and major Linux distributions, fixed the bug months ago. That's a good thing given it is actively being exploited in the wild. Penetration testers, including Immunity and VUPEN Security, consider the threat significant enough to offer their customers exploit code that tests against the bug.

"This bug, and others like it, are essentially 'write once, own all' type deals," Immunity researcher Bas Alberts wrote in an email to The Reg. "So yeah, they're fairly interesting to people on the offense side of the fence."

The company's exploit code targeting the vulnerability is written in Java and works equally well on targets running Windows, Linux or OS X.

And yet Apple has so far taken no action, despite issuing major OS X upgrades just last week.

"In general Apple has been a little slower to apply upstream security updates in Java," said Dino Dai Zovi, an independent security researcher and co-author of The Mac Hacker's Handbook. "Whenever basically they're lagging behind a vulnerability that's out and known, it's pretty significant. Potential hackers don't have to discover anything new; they can use a vulnerability that's already released."

To be fair to Apple, the company's developers are responsible for writing and testing their own Java patches. There's no such requirement on Microsoft developers, since Sun provides Java fixes on that platform. Still, if Hewlett-Packard, Red Hat, and Suse can patch their platforms, you'd think Apple could do to the same. An Apple spokeswoman didn't respond to an email requesting comment.

That means security-conscious Mac users will need to take matters in to their own hands. Security researcher Landon Fuller recommends here that OS X users disable Java applets in their browsers and disable the "Open safe files after downloading" setting in Safari. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.