CIO Symmetry

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» VIEW ALL POSTS Dec 2 2011   3:58PM GMT

Are you at risk? Huge Java vulnerability now weaponized and exploited



Posted by: Wendy Schuchart
Tags:
data privacy
Risk management
security tools

It’s every CIO’s worst nightmare — that panicked call when you least expect it, delivering the worst possible news: “The firewall has been breached.” We know that you do everything possible to avoid that gut-dropping moment, so we’re letting you know that today might be the best day possible to force your users to do a Java software update. It seems that Oracle Corp. detected a major Java vulnerability a few months ago and fixed it. But now the folks who live to create chaos and disorder have picked up on the weakness too. According to the National Vulnerability Database (NVD):

“Unspecified vulnerability in the Java Runtime Environment component in Oracle Java SE JDK and JRE 7 and 6 Update 27 and earlier allows remote untrusted Java Web Start applications and untrusted Java applets to affect confidentiality, integrity, and availability via unknown vectors related to Scripting.”

 How bad is this? The NVD has scored it 10 out of 10. This isn’t Jabba the Hutt bad or even Darth Vader bad — it’s The Emperor of all Java Vulnerability bad.

 Java is historically a bit of a screen door for corporations in the first place. It doesn’t use the same engine for updating as Windows or Adobe Flash do, and the Java software update tends to get overlooked by IT. Considering that it’s a huge, overreaching software that affects users of Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, it’s the perfect opportunity for malicious programmers to exploit and “weaponize.” Even if you deployed a Java software update in mid-October, you might still be at risk — JRE 7 and 6 Update 27 and earlier are still at risk, according to security expert Brian Krebs.

Krebs managed to sneak into one of the exclusive hacker cybercrime communities and obtained a hacker video demonstrating how the hackers can exploit the Java vulnerability. It’s worth checking out, if only to see exactly how the criminals can easily take control of your users’ machines.

And of course, it would be worth the time to take a peek at your Java software update and make sure that your users aren’t going to accidentally stumble on an infected page or ad while using Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer — especially if they are still using Windows XP. There’s no time like the present.

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