Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

7/16/2015
01:30 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Java Back In The Bullseye

Adobe Flash may be all the attack rage lately, but Oracle's new pile of patches -- including one for an 0day spotted in the wild -- highlight how Java remains an attractive target.

Remember -- before Adobe Flash -- when Java was the darling of cybercriminals and other nefarious hackers? Well, Java is getting some bad-guy love once again, with a nation-state group employing a zero-day vulnerability that was among 25 Java bug patches from Oracle's fixes for some 193 software bugs overall this week.

The so-called Pawn Storm cyber espionage gang thought to be out of Russia has targeted US military, embassy, and defense contractors for several years, and most recently, the White House and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Researchers this month spotted Pawn Storm using a zero-day remote code execution bug in Java. That flaw-- CVE-2015-2590-- was among those fixed by Oracle this week, and was one of the first Java 0days spotted in the wild in the past two years.

Calls to disable Java on the desktop and in browsers over the past two years appear to have made it a less attractive target for the bad guys, who of late have been all about abusing Adobe Flash. Experts recommend disabling Flash, which Adobe is regularly patching for new bugs, and some are even recommending eradicating it altogether.

Trend Micro researchers wrote in a post this week about the new Java 0day. "Trend Micro first came across this vulnerability (and exploit) as part of our ongoing investigations on Operation Pawn Storm. We found email messages  targeting a certain armed forces of a NATO country and a US defense organization contained these malicious URLs where the Java exploit is hosted," Trend Micro said. "This exploit sets off a chain of malware infections that lead to its final payload: an information-stealing malware."

Meanwhile, of the 25 CVEs patched in Oracle's batch of security fixes, 24 of them affect Java SE 8, the newest version of Java. "Of the 25 CVEs fixed in this patch, 24 of them (96%) affect Java SE 8 which is the latest and most up-to-date Java version. This reveals that the security of Java's APIs has not significantly improved over time. This is something of a paradox, since at Java's inception is was specifically promoted as being a secure computing platform," says Java expert and Waratek CTO John Matthew Holt.

Of the 25 flaws, 23 are remotely exploitable bugs that require no authentication, he says. "These are very serious and cover the maximum severity score of CVSS 10.0 -- in other words, as bad as it gets," Holt says.

Java SE 7 is no longer supported by Oracle, he notes, which is problematic for enterprises. "So Enterprises running Java SE 7 applications -- which is virtually every large enterprise today -- cannot automatically download and apply these important security fixes."

According to Warateck, less than 10% of companies are running Java 8 in live production today and around 30% run Java 7.

 

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
alphaa10
50%
50%
alphaa10,
User Rank: Strategist
7/19/2015 | 4:33:06 AM
Oracle and Due Diligence
Anticipating the "threat environment" requires constant effort, and Oracle has made it clear Java is no longer as safe as believed.

While a belated response by Oracle is better than none at all, Java in major production environments has been placed at the worst possible risk.

 

 
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
7/16/2015 | 4:40:13 PM
Between Java and Flash...
...and all the OS vulnerabilitys in Android, Windows, iOS and OS X, it's no wonder why we see contant breaches.
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18202
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
Information Disclosure is possible on WAGO Series PFC100 and PFC200 devices before FW12 due to improper access control. A remote attacker can check for the existence of paths and file names via crafted HTTP requests.
CVE-2019-18209
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
templates/pad.html in Etherpad-Lite 1.7.5 has XSS when the browser does not encode the path of the URL, as demonstrated by Internet Explorer.
CVE-2019-18198
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.4, a reference count usage error in the fib6_rule_suppress() function in the fib6 suppression feature of net/ipv6/fib6_rules.c, when handling the FIB_LOOKUP_NOREF flag, can be exploited by a local attacker to corrupt memory, aka CID-ca7a03c41753.
CVE-2019-18197
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In xsltCopyText in transform.c in libxslt 1.1.33, a pointer variable isn't reset under certain circumstances. If the relevant memory area happened to be freed and reused in a certain way, a bounds check could fail and memory outside a buffer could be written to, or uninitialized data could be disclo...
CVE-2019-4409
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
HCL Traveler versions 9.x and earlier are susceptible to cross-site scripting attacks. On the Problem Report page of the Traveler servlet pages, there is a field to specify a file attachment to provide additional problem details. An invalid file name returns an error message that includes the entere...