The Java Security Situation is Bad!
There has been a lot of talk among security geeks about how insecure Java is, and the problems that they have been having. It looks bad for Oracle. Pundits are recommending that you don’t even USE Java! So, Oracle released a security patch! But, sadly, IT, too, has a security issue!
“The Java vulnerability news isn’t getting better.
Less than one week after Oracle released Java 7 update 11 to patch or mitigate two zero-day vulnerabilities in Java that were being actively exploited by attackers, veteran Java bug hunter Adam Gowdiak of Security Explorations in Poland discovered two new vulnerabilities in Java standard edition.
‘We have successfully confirmed that a complete Java security sandbox bypass can be still gained under the recent version of Java 7 Update 11 (JRE version 1.7.0_11-b21),’ wrote Gowdiak in a post to the Full Disclosure mailing list. As a result, any attacker who used the vulnerabilities would be able to craft malware that tapped the Java runtime environment, thus fully compromising a vulnerable system.
Interestingly, the two newly discovered bugs have nothing to do with Oracle’s partial patch of the ‘MBeanInstantiator’ flaw. This was mitigated by Oracle via changing the default Java security setting from medium to high, which requires that an unsigned Java Web apps be authorized by a user before being allowed to run. ‘MBeanInstantiator bug (or rather a lack of a fix for it) turned out to be quite inspirational for us,’ said Gowdiak. ‘However, instead of relying on this particular bug, we have decided to dig our own issues. As a result, two new security vulnerabilities (51 and 52) were spotted in a recent version of Java SE 7 code and they were reported to Oracle today (along with a working Proof of Concept code).’
Gowdiak has numbered the security vulnerabilities 51 and 52, because that’s the number of Java 7 bugs Security Explorations has reported to Oracle since April 2, 2012. In terms of the latest two vulnerabilities reported to Oracle, Gowdiak said, ‘The company informs us that it will investigate based on the data provided and get back to us soon.’
How bad are the vulnerabilities? ‘[Gowdiak] implies that although it locked the office door in update 7u11, Oracle left the entrance to the building open, which he considered as good as an invitation to find another way in,’ wrote Paul Ducklin, head of technology for Sophos in the Asia Pacific region, in a blog post. But per its disclosure policy, Security Explorations has yet to release full details of the new vulnerabilities, pending a fix from Oracle.
News of two new vulnerabilities being discovered comes on the heels of news that another Java vulnerability, unpatched by Oracle, was being offered for sale on an exclusive cybercrime forum.
The recently discovered Java vulnerabilities have led to widespread confusion over exactly which types of Java are at risk, worries about whether Java itself is safe, and questions over how Java-dependent enterprises should best deal with the vulnerability challenge. (Hint: Start by removing the Java plug-in from browsers, whenever possible.)
Oracle has also come under fire for failing to provide enterprises with a reliable method for updating the Java runtime environment across a large number of managed machines. As noted by one reader, ‘there are loosely published methods to do it via Group Policy or Configuration Manager, but these often fail, and are NOT supported by Oracle.'”