Java brews critical bug

Java bug can leave corporate systems open to attack

A bug in the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) can leave corporate systems open to attack if a user visits a site containing malicious code, security researchers have warned.

The bug affects Windows, Linux and Solaris, and Sun has released a patch.

The JRE includes the Java Virtual Machine and supporting executables and files, and contains safeguards that prevent applets from causing trouble on the wider system. The newly disclosed flaw allows applets to upgrade their privileges, effectively giving them free access to the rest of the system, Sun said in an advisory.

"For example, an applet may grant itself permissions to read and write local files or execute local applications with the privileges of the user running the untrusted applet," Sun said.

The specific bug is to do with the processing of GIF image components, according to the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), a bounty-oriented program run by 3Com's TippingPoint, which bought rights to disclosure from an anonymous researcher.

"When the image width in an image block of a valid GIF file is set to 0, the Java runtime will allocate the specified size but subsequently copy all data to the under allocated memory chunk," ZDI said in its advisory. "The overflow results in the corruption of multiple pointers, at least one of which is later dereferenced and can therefore result in execution of arbitrary code."

ZDI originally informed Sun of the problem back in June, the organization said.

Secunia, a third-party security company based in Denmark, said the problem was one of the most serious to have affected Java in some time. Secunia said the bug was "highly critical".

The bug affects Java Development Kit (JDK) and JRE 5.0 Update 9 and prior, Java Software Development Kit (SDK) and JRE 1.4.2_12 and prior, and SDK and JRE 1.3.1_18 and prior.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Broersma
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

Taking cybersecurity to the highest level and order now for a special discount on the world’s most awarded and trusted cybersecurity. Be aware without a care!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?