Oracle Confirms Java 7 Vulnerability, Promises Fix 'Will Be Available Shortly'

By Alexandra Burlacu email: | Jan 13, 2013 02:17 PM EST

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Oracle has confirmed the zero-day vulnerability found in Java 7 that grabbed the spotlight last week, and promised to fix the issue soon.

Oracle's promise to fix things comes after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advised PC users to disable Java in  Web browsers, as hackers are exploiting a security flaw to attack PCs.

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"A fix will be available shortly," Oracle told Reuters in a statement late Friday, Jan. 11. The company did not offer further details regarding when the update will become available.

The security threat in Java 7 made headlines on Thursday, Jan. 10, after the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which pertains to the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security, issued an alarming vulnerability note:

"Overview - Java 7 Update 10 and earlier contain an unspecified vulnerability that can allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system.

Description - Java 7 Update 10 and earlier contain an unspecified remote-code-execution vulnerability. This vulnerability is being attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits.

Impact - By convincing a user to visit a specially crafted HTML document, a remote attacker may be able to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system."

Through this critical security hole, attackers can execute malicious software on a victim's system. Cybercriminals quickly exploited the security hole in the wild, and made it available in common exploit kits. The same day, Apple took steps to block Java 7 on OS X 10.6 and later to protect Mac users.

The next day, Security Explorations, the security firm that identified most of the recent Java vulnerabilities, said the zero-day code only worked because Oracle had not properly addressed an old vulnerability. Security Explorations notified Oracle back in August 2012 that it has an insecure implementation of the Reflection API. Oracle issued a patch in October 2012, but it was not a complete fix.  

Mozilla decided on Friday to add all recent versions of Java to its Firefox add-on blocklist, blocking Java 7 Update 9, Java 7 Update 10, Java 6 Update 37, and Java 6 Update 38. Firefox had already blocklisted other Java versions over other vulnerabilities.

Users will be able to use the plug-in again once Oracle releases Java 7 Update 11, which aims to address the security issue. In the meantime, users should uninstall or at least disable Java in their machine, regardless of what browser or operating system they are using.

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