Feeds

Big Java security fixes on the way – but not so fast, Windows XP users

Didn't you hear? Oracle quit testing Java on XP months ago

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

As if running Windows XP after Microsoft withdrew support wasn't risky enough, XP users who have Java installed may soon have even more to worry about.

Oracle is due to issue its next Critical Patch Update – the massive, quarterly fix-it fests that deliver security updates across the company's entire product line, including Java – on July 15. But when those next Java patches arrive (whatever they might be), there's no guarantee that they will even work on XP.

That's because unlike Microsoft, which spent two years hollering from the rooftops for Windows XP users to upgrade, Oracle hasn't made much of a fuss about the fact that it has already discontinued support for Java on XP.

Support for Java 7 ended on April 8, to be precise. And Java 8 – the current version – won't even install on the outdated OS.

Updates for Java 7 will keep coming – at least until April 2015, when Oracle plans to wind down support for that version. The most recent Critical Patch Update, which included fixes for Java 5 through 8, shipped on April 28, weeks after Oracle's Windows XP support had expired.

The catch is that because Oracle is no longer testing Java on XP, there may come a day when one of its security patches actually breaks Java on that platform, rather than fixing it.

At that point, Java users will be left in a similar position as they are with XP itself – unable to apply any more security patches and stuck using a platform that has well-known, exploitable vulnerabilities (because Oracle itself has made them known, in the form of published security fixes).

And that would be bad. In its 2014 annual security report, published in January, networking giant Cisco found that a dizzying 91 per cent of all web-based exploits throughout 2013 targeted Java.

So, while we know you've already been told a thousand times, we would be remiss if we didn't offer a word of friendly advice to all Windows XP users who also use Java: Upgrade to Windows Vista. Oracle plans to maintain support for that platform for the foreseeable future. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.