February 04, 2013, 9:41 AM — Following disclosures by security researchers of vulnerabilities in the last update of Java released in January, Oracle has rushed out ahead of schedule another bundle of fixes for the programming language.
The latest update, originally scheduled for release on February 19, contains 50 security fixes for 49 flaws that were exploitable remotely without authorization. That means they can be used on a network without the knowledge of a username and password.
Oracle said it updated early because one of the vulnerabilities addressed in the update is already being exploited in the wild.
"Due to the threat posed by a successful attack, Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply CPU fixes as soon as possible," the company warned in an update advisory.
Oracle rushed out a security fix for Java in January after the Department of Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommended the software be disabled by all its users because of security concerns. Those concerns involved a Zero Day vulnerability being exploited by toolkits created by cybercriminals and used to steal sensitive information from computers.
Even after release of that fix, Java 7 update 11, the agency still recommended turning off Java unless using it was absolutely necessary.
It rapidly became apparent that the 7u11 fix had missed its mark. Just days after its release a hacker began peddling in the online black market a pair of new Java Zero Day vulnerabilities for $5000 each.
Other hackers, perhaps lacking the skills to find vulnerabilities, began to exploit the headlines about Java's woes by mounting phishing expeditions offering fake updates of Oracle's programming language. After installation by a user, the fake update installs a back door to a system that allows a hacker to control it.
Flaws found in update