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Security Businesses Java Programming Apple

Mac OS X Users Vulnerable To Major Java Flaw 306

Posted by kdawson
from the write-once-own-everyone dept.
FruitWorm writes in with word of a vulnerability in Java that has been patched by everyone but Apple. "Security researchers say that Mac OS X users are vulnerable to a critical, 6-month-old, remote vulnerability in Java, a component that is enabled by default in Web browsers on this platform. Julien Tinnes notes that this vulnerability differs from typical Java security flaws in that it is 'a pure Java vulnerability' and doesn't involve any native code. It affected not only Sun's Java but other implementations such as OpenJDK, on multiple platforms, including Linux and Windows. 'This means you can write a 100% reliable exploit in pure Java. This exploit will work on all the platforms, all the architectures and all the browsers,' Julien wrote. This bug was demonstrated during the Pwn2own security challenge this year at CanSecWest, but the details were not made public at that time. Tinnes recommends that Mac OS X users disable Java in their browsers until Apple releases a security update."
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Mac OS X Users Vulnerable To Major Java Flaw

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  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:01AM (#28022895) Journal

    I've disabled Java in Safari and doubt I'll see any difference since so few sites use Java applets these days. This is of course unrelated to Javascript which is much more disruptive when disabled.

    • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:11AM (#28022939)

      I've had Java disabled for years, and have only ever had to enable it for broadband speed test applets. Aside from that, and some upload plugins (though that's mostly flash or AJAX nowadays) client-side java just isn't used much on the web anymore.

      I doubt you'll notice the difference.

      • by RevRagnarok (583910) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:34AM (#28023337) Homepage Journal

        I've had Java disabled for years, and have only ever had to enable it for broadband speed test applets.

        Then you are very lucky, and likely don't work for a ginormous company whose only way to not make things in ActiveX is to make them in Java. My timesheet program = Java. My Expense Report software = "Extensity" which seems to only like one version of the JVM. Lucky you!

        • by ThePhilips (752041) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:09AM (#28023507) Homepage Journal

          Very similar here.

          At home, I had removed all traces of Java like eons ago. Never had a problem. Only OO.o occasionally complains that there is no Java installed, but no crucial functionality is affected.

          In office, one of the corporate portals uses ActiveX and Java. Though Java applet is used apparently only during authentication, it still requires Java. (IOW, puny 20K applet wastes countless megabytes/gigabytes of disk space on hundred desktops.) Otherwise - no Java in sight.

        • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:00AM (#28023761)

          Then you are very lucky, and likely don't work for a ginormous company whose only way to not make things in ActiveX is to make them in Java.

          : ) Reason no 12939 not to work at a gigantic corporation. Having experienced working in large companies, I sympathise.

          The funniest thing about large companies using web-apps for internal software is that most of them produce web-apps which depend on technology which is not truly cross-platform (Active-X, using a certain JVM, depending on a certain browser, etc), thus removing most of the business benefit of using a web application in the first place.

          • by dwarfking (95773)

            Then you are very lucky, and likely don't work for a ginormous company whose only way to not make things in ActiveX is to make them in Java.

            : ) Reason no 12939 not to work at a gigantic corporation. Having experienced working in large companies, I sympathise.

            The funniest thing about large companies using web-apps for internal software is that most of them produce web-apps which depend on technology which is not truly cross-platform (Active-X, using a certain JVM, depending on a certain browser, etc), thus removing most of the business benefit of using a web application in the first place.

            I'm not sure this is a totally correct assessment. Large companies tend to have defined desktop standards that they force all users to adhere to, even when they cause problems (i.e. full disk PGP encryption on a developers desktop work station because they might test with sensitive data). The standards apply to developers, call center and executive admins equally, so they don't really work well for any one group. This is the norm as a way to keep internal support costs down.

            But, because of this standardi

            • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:57AM (#28024163)

              But, because of this standardization, the internal development staff only needs to target one defined platform, they aren't really worried about cross-platform support.

              This works really well as a way to cut costs *for the IT department* in the short term. As to whether it cuts costs for the company as a whole (there's the lost productivity involved in enforcing a standard install that you alluded to, and the lack of choice of tools), is another matter, and I'm sure varies with the company/tech involved. Obviously some degree of standardisation is required when managing large numbers of computers, so I'd happily concede that point.

              But there is a bigger issue related to this strategy in the long term. In the long term, targeting one platform exclusively leads to the production of tools which are tied tighter and tighter to that platform. So it means you can never switch to a competitor; you can't even consider switching to a competitor unless you're willing to ditch all the internal software that you've built up which will only work on version X of system X. It becomes simply impossible for your business to even think about switching. You might even find that moving to a new version of an operating system has significant costs which you had not anticipated (an XP to Vista migration for example, or IE 6 to IE 8). These are not the normal costs of doing business, they are the costs of doing business if you choose to lock yourself too tightly to one platform.

              There is a reason that Microsoft pushed things like Active-X, .NET and IE for web apps, Sun pushes Java everywhere, Apple encourages web pages made for iPhones, etc. It is to tie developers/companies in to using just their products, and it is in the long-term interests of the tool provider, not the company using the tools to work with.

              Using web apps for internal software is a good way out of this conundrum, so long as you do not target a specific platform with them. Otherwise, you may as well be writing binary software tied to a specific version of one OS - the end result is the same - lock-in. I understand completely why, in the real world, these decisions are made, but if you look at the situation rationally they are not good investments of time/money over the long-term, and they undermine the very reasons for writing software as a web application in the first place.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by obijuanvaldez (924118)

            The funniest thing about large companies using web-apps for internal software is that most of them produce web-apps which depend on technology which is not truly cross-platform (Active-X, using a certain JVM, depending on a certain browser, etc), thus removing most of the business benefit of using a web application in the first place.

            Your experience may be different from mine, but the driving motivation behind using web applications for internal software has nothing to do with being cross platform but rather to do with ease of deployment. The business has a pretty tight control over what platforms are being used, they don't need to cater to any platform they haven't put in place. The real business benefit is not having to send out IT people to update each and every client machine for every update to the software.

        • Customized JVMs (Score:2, Interesting)

          Speaking of liking only one version of the JVM, I worked for a CLEC (a small phone company) that had to interface with the RBOC (The Phone Company - SBC/AT&T) via a Java applicaton for provisioning phone numbers and the like. The application ran on a specific version of Java 1.4.2 (like j2re_1.4.2_01 or something), and the JVM had to patched by SBC software so that the application would run. The name escapes me... Oddly enough, I think LENS (Bell South's Java interface application) used the exact sam
    • by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:42AM (#28023083)
      Sites don't directly use Java but there are plenty of JNLP style apps. Also, JavaFX *may* spark some kind of mini-resurgence which means more sites use Java for video playback or random other things.

      I say may because Flex / Flash is pretty embedded and Microsoft is moneyhatting its way into the scene. Sun doesn't have money so its almost a charity case at this time, relying on good will from mobile phone companies and Java devs.

      Anyway, Apple's "support" of Java is pretty pathetic. They're usually a year or more behind the curve and its not acceptable.

      • by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:31AM (#28023317) Journal

        Anyway, Apple's "support" of Java is pretty pathetic. They're usually a year or more behind the curve and its not acceptable.

        You're absolutely right about that. Apple decided that they'd be better than Sun at creating a JVM for their OS, so they did it themselves.

        The result? PPC Macs are stuck on Java 1.5; Intel Macs have outdated, slow, and exploit vulnerable Java 1.6...

        I'm more inclined to let the company that specializes in that stuff deal with it - but then again, maybe it gave them much needed experience for their Rosetta technology.

        • by kthreadd (1558445) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:08AM (#28023503)

          I'm more inclined to let the company that specializes in that stuff deal with it - but then again, maybe it gave them much needed experience for their Rosetta technology

          According to the Sun engineers I've talked to it all has to do with a really old license agreement between Apple and Sun that they can't change for now. Sun is forbidden to directly release Java for Mac OS X until the agreement expire or Apple decides to make a new agreement. The only practical solution they proposed was to use the BSD port of OpenJDK. You won't have the Aqua UI and I think you have to deal with X11, but you will have an overall better Java.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cthefuture (665326)

          The result? PPC Macs are stuck on Java 1.5; Intel Macs have outdated, slow, and exploit vulnerable Java 1.6...

          Not only that but the Java "1.6" they support isn't the full version, it's missing all sorts of API's that are in the Sun version.

          I'm not a huge Java fan but I wish Apple would step up their Java support. I hear rumors that Snow Leopard will contain the full Java 1.6 from Sun.

          • by countach (534280)

            What APIs is it missing?

            What is even more annoying than 1.5 on PPC, is that Intel Core Duo (32 bit) Intel macs are also doomed to 1.5 only.

            Only those with Core 2 Duo get 1.6.

        • by foo fighter (151863) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:58AM (#28026589) Homepage

          Apple decided that they'd be better than Sun at creating a JVM for their OS, so they did it themselves.

          That might have been the initial reason. Maybe.

          But Apple really, really wants developers to use Objective-C and Cocoa when they are creating software for OS X. From Apple's strategic perspective, why support an alternative platform (and Java is an alternative platform) that doesn't lead to great Mac software, especially great Mac-only software.

          And about that agreement between Sun and Apple that keeps Sun off OS X: now that Java is open sourced, what is keeping the community from creating and releasing an OS X-native client?

    • Actually that's a good point. The last time I remember Java being needed was for my corporate SSL-VPN that I used about 9 months ago. Java is kind of obsolete these days in a browser what with Flash being everywhere (except my damn iPhone, which doesn't do Java either though anyway).

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:03AM (#28022907)

    'This means you can write a 100% reliable exploit in pure Java. This exploit will work on all the platforms, all the architectures and all the browsers,'

    And the Java critics said total platform independence was impossible!

    • by x2A (858210) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:11AM (#28022935)

      Yay this is gonna be so much easier than trying to ship Wine with my viruses...

      • Oh I don't know... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shivetya (243324) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:26AM (#28023299) Homepage Journal

        after meeting some Mac newbies I am think I can already see the iceberg. Two are friends, one of which called me out of the blue to tell me that he just bought his first Mac (an iMac actually). Well needless to say I get calls from both since I am the "mac expert" (Read: I had one longer than them).

        The simplest way to say it, they are more than happy to key in their password for anything that asks, even if they don't know what they are doing. After all, they are on a Mac, they don't have virus protection because it doesn't need it, so how is something bad going to get on the system. These are not normally dense people, well maybe they are proving me wrong.

        So I figure that someone out there will rely on this type of stupidity to get key loggers, bots, and the like, on Macs. The number of people out there who buy one because they think it makes them cool or smart cannot be underestimated.

        I do know one of these two did ditch firefox because they didn't like clicking the ad-block button to allow some sites. So it is just a matter of time.

        (and no, I do not run a AV or worry about it on either of my Macs)

        • by x2A (858210) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:10AM (#28023513)

          In "the oldun days", computers used to come with books, instruction manuals, telling you how to use them. Nower days, OS vendors will jump through hoops to try and ensure that their users Do Not Have To Learn A God Damn Thing(tm)... and in some instances, inconsistent user interfaces actually prohibit learning (although I wouldn't call this common case). And this is the result.

          I'm not suggesting people should have to know all the nuts and bolts of the internals, but I'm sure there's a middle ground so this culture of "our users are stupid, we must protect their tiny brains" can be vanquished.

          (this is not limited to Apple/OSX by any means, although they do appear to me to be worse for it, this gap is closing fast)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by _Sprocket_ (42527)

            In "the oldun days", computers used to come with books, instruction manuals, telling you how to use them.

            Yup - and we ignored them for the most part. They did look nifty on the shelf. I've still got a few.

            Having said that - I agree with the general premise of what you're saying. Back then, we respected the microcomputer for the complex little beastie it was. These days people are being told that their computer is as simple as a toaster. They're buying in to a whole case of snakeoil.

            What makes it even more difficult is an almost willful ignorance from end users. I've talked to some very intelligent (in on

        • There's not much you can do to prevent the combination of a trojan and a user determined to get it running on his machine.

          You almost have to have that sixth sense for dodgy websites or software, because it's not always like the password prompt comes from the wrong place...with at least some of the (few) Mac trojans out there, they're just packaged as disk image files with installers inside, like everything else. For those people, anti-virus is the best option, I suppose.

          We can hope that the security "cultur

          • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @09:16AM (#28024955)

            As an agriculture monoculture, PCs were an easy infection target because of their uniformity and number. I wonder if, in an imaginary world where Win, Mac & Linux were split 30/30/30, you would still see 1/3 of the Windows malware? Hopefully not. Hopefully it'd be less.

            I hate to break it to you but I remember the days when there was no Windows monoculture and data was usually passed with floppy disks.

            Malware existed on all common desktop platforms back then. It couldn't spread as fast, but it certainly existed.

    • by MaggieL (10193)

      And the Java critics said total platform independence was impossible!

      Well, the vuln doesn't run the same way on all platforms. It only works on OSX and other severely downlevel JVMs.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      And it will run fast too! Its there anything this java exploit cannot do?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AJ Mexico (732501)

      And the Java critics said total platform independence was impossible!

      Nonsense! For years Java apps have been producing platform-independent error messages on all platforms equally. Fortunately, the exploit will probably error out too!

    • by sootman (158191) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @11:09AM (#28026775) Homepage Journal

      Am I the only one who first read that headline as "Mac OS X Users Vulnerable To Major Lava Flow"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:15AM (#28022955)

    In case you don't have OS X but want to pass on the instructions to relatives, etc:

    In Safari (version 4 beta):

    Safari->Preferences->Security->Web Content: Enable Java (uncheck)

    In Firefox (3.5 beta, probably the rest):

    Firefox->Preferences->Content->Enable Java (uncheck)

    I don't have any other browsers (opera, different versions, etc.) on hand, but it might be nice to add instructions in a reply...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mbone (558574)

      In Opera

      Preferences > Advanced > Content > Enable Java (uncheck) > OK

    • It would be nice if there was a way to disable it for all sites but blah.com

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)

        It would be nice if there was a way to disable it for all sites but blah.com

        Try Noscript.

        • by Culture20 (968837)

          It would be nice if there was a way to disable it for all sites but blah.com

          Try Noscript.

          Noscript for Safari?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FictionPimp (712802)

          I use noscript on firefox. But I would like this option in safari.

          Really why should disabling javascript and java with a white list be a feature that requires a 3rd party addon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vertinox (846076)

      I notice most sites don't like it when you turn javascript off, but don't care about java.

      The question I would have is that does Javascript on OSX have the same vulnerabilities?

      Perhaps the best solution is to install NoScript [wikipedia.org] and white list only the sites needed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hplus (1310833)

        The question I would have is that does Javascript on OSX have the same vulnerabilities?

        No.

        Java:Javascript::Ham:Hamburger

  • by pwilli (1102893) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:23AM (#28022997)
    I'd really like to know if this was/is a flaw in the structure/design of the JVM or just happened to be some kind of pitfall every major JVM-implementor fell into.

    The articles and bug reports are light on detail, I could only find out it is related to "Deserializing Calendar Objects" and allows the applet to execute stuff with the users rights (or probably more correct, the rights of the webbrowser who started the applet)., which sounds like an implementation problem to me. Was there some reference implementation all JVM-developers used for this specific functionality?
    • Historically every 'official' Java implementation has licensed the class libraries from Sun. I'm not sure why GIJ is mentioned in the same breath, since it's code base is based on GNU Classpath, a clean-room implementation of the Sun class libraries. Though, it could have been implemented in a similar manner for binary compatibility across VMs.

      So if the flaw is in the class libraries rather than the virtual machine, it's common code... Yes, from the 'reference implementation', now present in OpenJDK - whic

    • by Draek (916851) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:02AM (#28023189)

      This [blogspot.com], gotten from the comments at TFA, has a bit more details on it.

      Apparently it's a mix of both, a structural problem with the fact it needs to grant the Calendar class special priviledges to access ZoneInfo objects, and merely a common pitfall in that nobody had thought to limit those priviledges before to *just* accessing the calendar.

      Beautiful stuff they used in the exploit, though, it's as if they actively tried to use every OOP-derived feature in Java on it at the same time ;)

    • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:03AM (#28023195)

      technical details here [cr0.org].

      The gist of it that the Java Calendar code temporarily elevates its privileges in order to deserialize a ZoneInfo object. If you substitute your own object's serialization for the ZoneInfo, you can get the Java runtime to create any object you want. Some questions:

      1. Didn't anyone realize how dangerous arbitrary privilege elevation is?
      2. Didn't anyone think that it might be overkill to elevate privileges in order to read a timezone?
      3. How many other similar vulnerabilities are lurking in the standard library?
      • by squoozer (730327)

        In answer to question number 3 I would guess that there are quite a few more vulnerabilities to be found in the standard library but with the near non-existence of applets in the wild very few black hatters will be looking for them I suspect.

        There is a possible problem with web start applications (of which there are a few) but it would probably be easier to just use peoples ignorance of security to get them to grant your application all permissions. Much as I would like to see it differently JavaFX isn't go

      • by bay43270 (267213) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:58AM (#28024769) Homepage

        Good link. It should have been in the summary. It seems like a fairly obscure bug though. Here's an interesting quote:

        "I've mentioned that this was a class of vulnerabilities: the reason is that with this design, every time Java code deserializes an attacker-controlled input in a privileged context, it's a security vulnerability."

        Maybe it's just lack of imagination on my part, but I can't think of a good reason for a privileged app to deserialize objects from an untrusted source.

  • To be expected (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shrike82 (1471633) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:58AM (#28023159)
    The (untrue) assumption that many people seem to hold that Macs are just invulnerable to anything bad happening has finally spread to Apple itself, and they're the last to patch this exploit. Since a lot of Mac advertising used to be based on "Macs don't get Viruses" you'd think they'd have been the first to patch this to maintain their reputation.

    Yes I know I'm probably going to get modded down immediately for saying this, but hell, it's the truth.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by perryizgr8 (1370173)

      The (untrue) assumption that many people seem to hold that Macs are just invulnerable to anything bad happening has finally spread to Apple itself, and they're the last to patch this exploit. Since a lot of Mac advertising used to be based on "Macs don't get Viruses" you'd think they'd have been the first to patch this to maintain their reputation. Yes I know I'm probably going to get modded down immediately for saying this, but hell, it's the truth.

      yes, you were correct about ONE thing,

    • Re:To be expected (Score:5, Interesting)

      by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @06:04AM (#28023489)

      "The (untrue) assumption that many people seem to hold (is) that...", patching actually is a "best practice", when it's not.

      Marcus Ranum has a interesting and humorous take [ranum.com] on patching that spells it out much better than I could.

      The short version:

      • Patching is a substitute for good design
      • Patching exists for the simple reason that there is a rush to get products out the door, rather than take the time to ensure that they are secure

      This is true of 99.9% of software in use.

      • by Shrike82 (1471633)
        As an avid gamer this sounds very familiar - the amount of games I've bought in the past that have been verging on uplayable until the third of fourth patch.

        You have to have some sympathy for programmers though, I mean the ingenuity and sheer determination of malware authors means that even the smallest oversight or design flaw is going to be found and used for "evil" purposes.
        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          Not to defend bad design here, but the relatively recent advent of online play (often in massive numbers) makes it a LOT more difficult to ship flawless games right out of the box. Doing Q&A testing with million user loads is difficult, even with a beta release (and many game developers are loathe to even do open betas, because of piracy issues). Add to this the problems with a large number of those million users trying to exploit cheats in and pirate said software--and you're pretty much guaranteed tha

      • True? Yes. But no software is perfect. For example (you may have heard about this one recently in the news), there is a flaw right now in Java in Mac OS X, and it's not fixed.
      • by dkf (304284)

        • Patching exists for the simple reason that there is a rush to get products out the door, rather than take the time to ensure that they are secure

        <sarcasm>
        At least we know that Duke Nukem Forever will be secure when it comes out. After all, the developers aren't ever going to push a product out of the door there in the hope that it will at least start earning them some cash...
        </sarcasm>

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        "The (untrue) assumption that many people seem to hold (is) that...", patching actually is a "best practice", when it's not.

        I don't get WTF you're saying here. It's best not to patch, and just to keep having a security hole? The majority of customers have proven time and time again that they don't want security, they want features. Unfortunately, what we all NEED is security. Simple reality dictates that software will have bugs. I mean, you could run an entirely proven OS... have fun with Hello World!

        • by Culture20 (968837)
          He's waiting for gnu hurd.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by oDDmON oUT (231200)

          "I don't get WTF you're saying here. It's best not to patch, and just to keep having a security hole?"

          Not all. I'm saying the features are possible, and so is security, if the companies involved would *take*the*time* to make them a priority, rather than making the public the largest unpaid beta-test pool on the planet.

          Part of the problem is there is no liability to them for *not* doing so, the standard EULA ensures that.

          "I mean, you could run an entirely proven OS... have fun with Hello World!"

          If you'd tak

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      In all fairness, Justin Long's wisdom is the basis for ALL my life--not just in regards to computers.
    • Re:To be expected (Score:4, Insightful)

      by foo fighter (151863) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:29AM (#28024447) Homepage

      Frak, someone always has to make this post, don't they?

      Of course OS X has security flaws: it's a modern, general purpose operating system.

      The fact remains that by many metrics it is much more secure than Windows. For one, there are no where near the number of malware in the wild targeting OS X as there are for Windows. Most people who run OS X have never, ever had to worry about contracting a virus, trojan, or worm. That is not the same thing as saying they never will, but it is a remarkable track record.

      I am concerned about Apple's slow response to newly identified flaws. Their lack of candor in discussing vulnerabilities, their potential impact on the platform, or details of its remediation in patches' release notes is also worrisome. They need to pick up their game if they want to keep that track record as the platform expands.

  • by landonf (905751) <landonf@plausible.coop> on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @04:58AM (#28023161) Homepage

    In addition to disabling Java support, Safari's 'Open "safe" files after downloading' must also be disabled to prevent websites from automatically loading a Java WebStart application via a JNLP file.

    I've also posted a demonstration of the vulnerability at http://landonf.bikemonkey.org/code/macosx/CVE-2008-5353.20090519.html [bikemonkey.org]

  • by oDDmON oUT (231200) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:16AM (#28023247)

    For the record, those running Firefox as their default browser, with NoScript installed, won't be affected* unless they *choose* to execute an unknown, untrusted binary within the browser.

    *At least the sample exploit at the top of the thread didn't execute for me, YMMV

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:29AM (#28023309)

    So it can arbitrarily execute java code in a browser. Well hold on, arn't browser VMs rather crippled anyway in their functionality? And thats after you take into account it'll only have the priviledges of whichever user launched the browser in the first place. So what exactly could you do with this exploit? Steal some cookies, bring up some annoying windows? Or is this about it being able to escape the sandbox? I don't really get it.

    • by iwein (561027)
      It can run any command as the user running the browser. I usually run the browser as myself, so it could clean out my home for example.

      If you're on Mac: http://is.gd/BpBp [is.gd]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by oDDmON oUT (231200)

      A *lot*.

      Consider. Many, if not most, Mac users run with admin privileges (though this is a not solely a Mac problem), so having an untrusted binary, able to execute whatever the hell it wants, accessing everything from / on down... well... I leave it to your imagination, but nuking your home directory would be the least of your problems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by epee1221 (873140)
        Strictly speaking, it's sudo privileges, not root privileges. If someone's willing to type his admin login password into a Java applet, there's probably no saving him anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DrgnDancer (137700)

        Actually virtually no Mac users run as "admin", they run on admin enabled accounts, but those accounts require you to enter your password (either in the GUI, or in sudo depending on the function) to perform any admin tasks. It's actually a bit of a chore to actually login as "root" on a Mac, it's a disabled account by default. Trivial for an experienced Unix user or admin to get in and activate it, but in theory that's not our worry here. My last couple of Macs I reactivated root, but on my most recent on

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @05:54AM (#28023449)

    Steve Jobs, JavaOne Keynote 2000:

    "We want to bring Java back to the desktop in a really big way. Iâ(TM)m here today to personally tell you we are working hard to make Mac the best Java delivery vehicle on the planet. The biggest thing we are doing is we are going to bundle Java 2 SE into every single copy of Mac OS X that we ship later on this year."

    WWDC 2006

    When is the next Java coming? We are following Sun's releases of Java SE 6 betas and other Java updates very closely.

    Steve Jobs, January 2007 (iPhone related):

    "Java's not worth building in. Nobody uses Java anymore. It's this big heavyweight ball and chain..."

    2008/05/01

    Apple (finally!) releases JDK 6 with 64 bit support only. Most apps won't run due to the lack of cocoa 64 bit libraries. 1 y/old notebooks left in the cold without 64bit support.

    • by cshbell (931989) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @08:35AM (#28024507)

      I don't see the point you're making. You might as well have contrasted nine-year disparate statements about RAM size. Over nine years, Apple's stance towards Java has changed; what's wrong with that? In 2000, Java seemed to have a wider path on the desktops than it does in 2009. Other languages and runtime environments have grown up around Java in the subsequent nine years, and to Apple's thinking, the other languages (such as Objective-C 2.0) allow for building better software than Java allows.

      Apple's stance appears to be, right or wrong, that Java on the desktop and mobile devices is no longer the best way to develop and deploy software, and thus, they've allowed the Java implementation in OS X to grow long in the tooth, and have outright declined to port it to the iPhone/iPod Touch OS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by foo fighter (151863)

      Obviously Apple is doing this so app developers must use the Cocoa libraries and internal devs can focus on improving Cocoa.

      I don't know why any platform developer would devote resources to Java support. That should be up to Sun and the Java community.

      Bitch and moan at Apple if you want, but it is Sun who signed an agreement with Apple promising not to release a OS X version of Java from Sun.

  • CERT has been telling users to disable Java in your web browser for years. If you haven't done so already, give it a shot. You probably won't miss it.

    http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/securing_browser [cert.org]

    • by Ash-Fox (726320) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:30AM (#28023949)

      CERT has been telling users to disable Java in your web browser for years. If you haven't done so already, give it a shot. You probably won't miss it.

      First things I noticed after disabling it, restarting Firefox with my saved tabs:

      • Can't use my bank anymore
      • Citrix from the web doesn't work
      • Akamai download manager doesn't work
      • Website IRC chat no longer works
      • Dragon court [ffiends.com] no longer works

      At this point I got annoyed and turned Java back on.

  • So MacOS X users, please disable Java in your web browser.
    Others: make sure you have updated Java and still disable it in your web browser: it's a huge attack surface and it suffers from many other security vulnerabilities.
  • by sqlrob (173498) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @07:59AM (#28024183)

    Apple took more than a year after Sun patched it to patch an exploited buffer overflow in the JVM. They'll take forever to fix this too.

  • by dn15 (735502) on Wednesday May 20, 2009 @10:39AM (#28026249)
    I'd like to disable Java but I work at a school district where...
    - Our Internet filter keeps you authenticated with a popup that embeds a Java applet
    - Our Internet filter admin interface is Java
    - Our wireless network login uses a Java applet to authenticate your username and password
    - Our student record database runs on Oracle with a Java interface

    Basically if I disabled Java I could only access one or two superfluous file servers on the LAN, and only using an Ethernet cable. Not gonna happen, unfortunately.

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