Attacks/Breaches
2/19/2013
07:26 PM
50%
50%

Mac Update Closes Java Security Holes Following Apple Hack

Apple acknowledges it was among the companies hit in an attack campaign that also targeted Facebook and others

Apple moved today to close Java security gaps targeted in a recent attack that compromised systems at Apple and other companies.

According to reports,the company was victimized by the same attack that impacted Facebook, which acknowledged last week it had been attacked the previous month.

In an update today,Apple addressed multiple security vulnerabilities in Java for users of Mac OS X v10.6.8, Mac OS X Server v10.6.8, Mac OS X Lion v10.7 or later, OS X Lion Server v10.7 or later and OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 or later. Along with the update is a malware tool the company says can be used to remediate the malware used in the attack.

"This update runs a malware removal tool that will remove the most common variants of malware," according to Apple. "If malware is found, it presents a dialog notifying the user that malware was removed. There is no indication to the user if malware is not found. This update is available for systems that installed Java 6."

Last week, the security team at Facebook stated that it detected an attack last month. Its investigation revealed that a handful of employees visited a mobile developer website that had been compromised to serve an exploit that allowed malware to be installed on the employees' laptops.

The thought process behind such attacks is that it is easier to compromise a site people trust and try to infect them than to try to cut through a company's security more directly, blogs ChesterWisniewski, senior security advisor for Sophos Canada.

"Trying to break through all of the layers of protection at Facebook and Apple is going to be extremely difficult," he notes. "Yet it might be much easier to compromise the security of a small application developer's website that Apple, Facebook and other high value targets might frequently visit."

Further evidence that many attackers are adopting this approach can be found in Cisco's recent security report,which found that online shopping sites are 21 times as likely to deliver malicious content as counterfeit software sites, and online advertisements are 182 times as likely to deliver malicious content as pornography sites.

A frequent target of the exploits hosted on compromised sites is Java, which has become a popular choice for exploit kits due to its ubiquity. Earlier this month, Oracle released an emergency patch for Java to fight off attacks in the wild.

According to Reuters, the attack on Apple and Facebook is part of a much larger campaign that also includes defense contractors and hundreds of other companies. Some of the speculation has focused on China as a culprit, but that has not been conclusively determined, Reuters reported.

Among the companies recently making the news for being breached is Twitter. While the microblogging service never publicly stated its breach was due to a Java exploit, Bob Lord, director of information security at Twitter, encouraged users to disable Java in their browsers after the attack. And the company wasn't alone.

"Apple was blocking Java a couple of weeks ago, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was advising against use Java in the browser," says Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure, who speculated prior to Apple's admission that the malware that infected Facebook may have been targeting Macs. "I had a very strong feeling that something was going on."

It is important for users to keep their computers fully patched, Sophos' Wisniewski notes, and to disable Java in the browser if it is not required for day-to-day Web surfing.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
blackbox-security.net
50%
50%
blackbox-security.net,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/20/2013 | 3:32:23 AM
re: Mac Update Closes Java Security Holes Following Apple Hack
Great post Brian. Keep up the good work!
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-6501
Published: 2015-03-30
The default soap.wsdl_cache_dir setting in (1) php.ini-production and (2) php.ini-development in PHP through 5.6.7 specifies the /tmp directory, which makes it easier for local users to conduct WSDL injection attacks by creating a file under /tmp with a predictable filename that is used by the get_s...

CVE-2014-9652
Published: 2015-03-30
The mconvert function in softmagic.c in file before 5.21, as used in the Fileinfo component in PHP before 5.4.37, 5.5.x before 5.5.21, and 5.6.x before 5.6.5, does not properly handle a certain string-length field during a copy of a truncated version of a Pascal string, which might allow remote atta...

CVE-2014-9653
Published: 2015-03-30
readelf.c in file before 5.22, as used in the Fileinfo component in PHP before 5.4.37, 5.5.x before 5.5.21, and 5.6.x before 5.6.5, does not consider that pread calls sometimes read only a subset of the available data, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (uninitialized memory ...

CVE-2014-9705
Published: 2015-03-30
Heap-based buffer overflow in the enchant_broker_request_dict function in ext/enchant/enchant.c in PHP before 5.4.38, 5.5.x before 5.5.22, and 5.6.x before 5.6.6 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via vectors that trigger creation of multiple dictionaries.

CVE-2014-9709
Published: 2015-03-30
The GetCode_ function in gd_gif_in.c in GD 2.1.1 and earlier, as used in PHP before 5.5.21 and 5.6.x before 5.6.5, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (buffer over-read and application crash) via a crafted GIF image that is improperly handled by the gdImageCreateFromGif function.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Good hackers--aka security researchers--are worried about the possible legal and professional ramifications of President Obama's new proposed crackdown on cyber criminals.