Friday, January 11, 2013

Emergency! Emergency! Java 7 Could Kill You!

The people at tell us there is a Java exploit that might allow some attacker to take over your computer (if you're insanely stupid about your browsing and email habits). They say, "Web browsers using the Java 7 plug-in are at high risk."

Yes, it could be serious, if the attacker steals your identity and all your money. They say, "To defend against this and future Java vulnerabilities, disable Java in web browsers". Future Java vulnerabilities? Why not disable everything? In fact, you should just stay in bed.

In another story, President Obama is poised to impose an executive order that would infringe on The Constitution (the second amendment, but it really doesn't matter which), and ... (crickets). It's too bad we can't simply disable Barack Obama in our browsers, to prevent this and future threats. This is much more serious. It isn't mere trifles such as your computer, your identity and all your money; it's your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness!

Perspective, perspective, perspective...

-----Original Message-----
From: US-CERT Alerts [] 
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 2:53 PM
Subject: US-CERT Alert TA13-010A - Oracle Java 7 Security Manager Bypass Vulnerability

Hash: SHA1

National Cyber Awareness System

US-CERT Alert TA13-010A
Oracle Java 7 Security Manager Bypass Vulnerability

Original release date: January 10, 2013
Last revised: --

Systems Affected

     Any system using Oracle Java 7 (1.7, 1.7.0) including

     * Java Platform Standard Edition 7 (Java SE 7)
     * Java SE Development Kit (JDK 7)
     * Java SE Runtime Environment (JRE 7)

     All versions of Java 7 through update 10 are affected.  Web
     browsers using the Java 7 plug-in are at high risk.


   A vulnerability in the way Java 7 restricts the permissions of Java
   applets could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary commands on a
   vulnerable system.


   A vulnerability in the Java Security Manager allows a Java applet
   to grant itself permission to execute arbitrary code. An attacker
   could use social engineering techniques to entice a user to visit a
   link to a website hosting a malicious Java applet. An attacker
   could also compromise a legitimate web site and upload a malicious
   Java applet (a "drive-by download" attack).

   Any web browser using the Java 7 plug-in is affected. The Java
   Deployment Toolkit plug-in and Java Web Start can also be used as
   attack vectors.

   Reports indicate this vulnerability is being actively exploited,
   and exploit code is publicly available.

   Further technical details are available in Vulnerability Note


   By convincing a user to load a malicious Java applet or Java
   Network Launching Protocol (JNLP) file, an attacker could execute
   arbitrary code on a vulnerable system with the privileges of the
   Java plug-in process.


   Disable Java in web browsers

   This and previous Java vulnerabilities have been widely targeted by
   attackers, and new Java vulnerabilities are likely to be
   discovered. To defend against this and future Java vulnerabilities,
   disable Java in web browsers.

   Starting with Java 7 Update 10, it is possible to disable Java
   content in web browsers through the Java control panel applet. From
   Setting the Security Level of the Java Client:

   For installations where the highest level of security is required,
   it is possible to entirely prevent any Java apps (signed or
   unsigned) from running in a browser by de-selecting Enable Java
   content in the browser in the Java Control Panel under the Security

   If you are unable to update to Java 7 Update 10 please see the
   solution section of Vulnerability Note VU#636312 for instructions
   on how to disable Java on a per browser basis.


 * Vulnerability Note VU#625617

 * Setting the Security Level of the Java Client

 * The Security Manager

 * How to disable the Java web plug-in in Safari

 * How to turn off Java applets

 * NoScript

 * Securing Your Web Browser

 * Vulnerability Note VU#636312

Revision History

  January 10, 2013: Initial release


   Feedback can be directed to US-CERT Technical Staff. Please send
   email to  with "TA13-010A Feedback VU#625617" in
   the subject.

   Produced by US-CERT, a government organization.

This product is provided subject to this Notification:

Privacy & Use policy:

This document can also be found at

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Version: GnuPG v1.4.5 (GNU/Linux)



  1. Applets don't run in a sandbox anymore? Isn't this a browser issue and not a java issue?

  2. It is a Java issue because it is possible to elevate Java permission in the sandbox to execute arbitrary code (e.g., native code, which may have been previously downloaded for the exploit). I think a lot of things have to go wrong for this to work effectively, but it is theoretically possible, and there may be active exploits using this mechanism.

    Like Active-X, I don't think Java applets are as popular as they once were. JavaScript (completely different from Java, despite the name) is more popular, although it has its own risks.

    1. Speaking of risk... Everything worthwhile has risk. Try disabling all plug-ins and scripting in your browser, and see how your internet experience works out for you.


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