Feeds

Oracle releases emergency security patch for Java

Code-execution threat no more

High performance access to file storage

Under criticism for not patching a critical vulnerability in its recently acquired Java virtual machine, Oracle on Thursday released an emergency update that eliminates the zero-day threat.

Functionality in the Java Web Start component made it trivial for attackers to remotely execute malicious code on end-user machines. Tavis Ormandy, one of the researchers who first discovered the threat, said he alerted Java handlers inside Oracle's Sun division, but they decided no patch was necessary before the next update release scheduled for July.

It would appear that Oracle officials had a change of heart. On early Thursday, they pushed out Java 6, update 20, which makes changes to the Java Network Launch Protocol, according to release notes. The JNLP is closely associated with Java Web Start, which makes it easy for end users to install custom libraries needed to run Java applications.

There are unconfirmed reports that the patch doesn't completely eliminate the threat, most notably in this Google translation of a report from Heise. A researcher who asked not to be named said there may be upgrade problems with the npapi plugin used by Firefox that may leave a stale version behind. Internet Explorer should be safe, however.

The out-of-cycle update is a smart move, but Oracle still has unfinished work to make Java patching more seamless. First, Java needs to stop flogging the Yahoo Toolbar each time an update is available. Patches are about security, not marketing the unwanted bloat of partners.

Another gripe we've long had about Java updates is that they reset some default settings. A case in point: If you have Java configured to check for updates daily, instead of monthly as the program does by default, you'll have to reset that preference each and every time you update. That means it could take a full 30 days to get critical security patches like the one released Thursday.

To install the patch immediately, use Java's manual update feature. In Windows, this can be done by selecting Start > Control Panel > Java > Update tab and clicking the Update Now button. And don't forget to uncheck the Yahoo installation box. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.