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Apple plugs Java hole after Flashback Trojan intrusion

6 weeks after Microsoft machines are patched...

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Apple released a security update for OS X Java on Tuesday, plugging a security vulnerability exploited by the latest Flashback Trojan.

The latest variant of the Mac-specific malware appeared on Monday and targeted a vulnerability in Java (CVE-2012-0507) which was patched on Windows machines more than six weeks ago.

Apple's new version of Java for OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and 10.7 (Lion) offers Mac users equivalent protection.

Java is not needed to surf the net, with the exception of applications on some e-banking websites. Security firms – including F-secure, Sophos and others – have begun advising users to disable the technology in their browsers as a largely unnecessary security risk. More discussion on the Apple Java security update, and the reasons users may want to disable Java in their browsers, can be found in a blog post by Chester Wisniewski on Sophos's Naked Security blog here.

In related news, Mozilla introduced changes in Firefox on Monday that will block older versions of Java that harbour critical vulnerabilities, specifically the increasingly infamous CVE-2012-0507 security flaw. "Blocklisting" forbids outdated plugins from running, unless specific approval is given. Mozilla has only introduced the technology into Windows versions of its open-source browser software, leaving Mac users without the added safety net.

Commentary on both the Apple update and the Mozilla plugin changes can be found in a blog post by Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at vulnerability scanning firm Qualys, here. ®

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