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Oracle patches decade-old 'Mark-of-the-Beast' bug in Java

Order restored to universe

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Oracle has squashed a decade-old bug in its Java programming framework that allows attackers to bring down sensitive servers by feeding them numerical values with large numbers of decimal places.

The vulnerability in the latest version of Java was disclosed last month and reported by The Reg on Monday. The bug, which stems from the difficulty of representing some floating-point numbers in the binary format, made it possible to carry out denial-of-service attacks when Java applications process the value 2.2250738585072012e-308.

On Tuesday, Oracle patched the Mark-of-the-Beast bug in its Java Runtime Environment. “Java based application and web servers are especially at risk from this vulnerability,” an advisory issued by the company warned.

According to numerous online forums, including this one for Java developers, the bug was first reported in 2001 to Sun Microsystems, which was at the time the official steward of the Java environment. For some reason, the link to the original report was removed last week with no explanation.

The vulnerability was reported again in 2009, but remained unfixed until now. ®

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