Critical Java updates fix 19 vulnerabilities, disable SSL 3.0

Future Java 7 security patches will not be publicly available so users should migrate to Java 8

Oracle released new security updates for Java to fix 19 vulnerabilities and disable default support for SSL 3.0, an outdated version of the secure communications protocol that is vulnerable to attacks.

The updates were part of Oracle's quarterly Critical Patch Update, released Tuesday, which fixes 169 security issues across hundreds of products.

Fourteen of the 19 vulnerabilities fixed in Java affect client deployments and can be exploited from Web pages through malicious Java applets or Java Web Start applications. Four of them have the maximum severity score 10 in the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) and two others come close, at 9.3, meaning they can lead to a full system compromise.

"The threats associated with sandbox bypass vulnerabilities in this CPU [Oracle Critical Patch Update] range from reading and writing local data to complete 'operating system takeover including arbitrary code execution'," said John Matthew Holt, the CTO of Java application security firm Waratek, via email. "Complete OS takeover vulnerabilities are the worst possible kind because attackers can use these vulnerabilities to not just steal sensitive or confidential data, but to install malware, steal passwords, assume a user's identity, delete files, and use the compromised machine as a pivot point to launch deeper attacks to other lateral machines within the same local area network."

The number of attacks that exploit Java vulnerabilities to install malware on computers has been on a steady decline over the past year, but Java exploits remain one of the top attack vectors against Web users, according to a report released Tuesday by Cisco Systems.

Another security-related change in the new Java updates is the deactivation of the SSL 3.0 protocol by default in response to the POODLE vulnerability discovered in October. The flaw allows man-in-the-middle attackers to decrypt sensitive information like authentication cookies from a connection encrypted with SSL 3.0.

What makes POODLE particularly dangerous is that even if a connection uses TLS 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2, an attacker can force a downgrade to SSL 3.0 if both the client and server support the aging protocol.

The change in Java comes as major browser vendors are taking similar actions in regard to support for SSL 3.0.

"If SSLv3 is absolutely required, the protocol can be reactivated by removing 'SSLv3' from the jdk.tls.disabledAlgorithms property in the java.security file or by dynamically setting this Security property to 'true' before JSSE is initialized," Oracle said in the new Java release notes.

The newly patched Java versions are 5.0u81, 6u91, 7u75/7u76 and 8u31, but the Java 5 and 6 updates are only available to Oracle customers with long term support contracts.

This is also the last public security update for Java 7. Users who have the automatic update feature turned on will be migrated to Java 8. Only users with long term support contracts will be able to download future Java 7 security fixes.

Join the newsletter!

Or

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.

Tags Oraclepatch managementonline safetyCisco SystemspatchesExploits / vulnerabilitiesWaratek

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?