Feeds

Six months on, Macs still plagued by critical Java vuln

No Java applets for you!

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.