Latest Java software exposes PCs to hackers

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BOSTON: Computer security firms are urging PC users to disable Java software in their browsers, saying the widely installed, free software from Oracle opens machines to hacker attacks and there is no way to defend against them.

The warnings, which began emerging over the weekend from Rapid7, AlienVault and other cyber security firms, are likely to unnerve a PC community scrambling to fend off growing security threats from hackers, viruses and malware.

Researchers have identified code that attacks machines by exploiting a newly discovered flaw in the latest version of Java. Once in, a second piece of software called "Poison Ivy" is released that lets hackers gain control of the infected computer, said Jaime Blasco, a research manager with AlienVault Labs.

Several security firms advised users to immediately disable Java software -- installed in some form on the vast majority of personal computers around the world -- in their internet browsers. Oracle says that Java sits on 97 per cent of enterprise desktops.

"If exploited, the attacker will be able to perform any action the victim can perform on the victim's machine," said Tod Beardsley, an engineering manager with Rapid7's Metasploit division.

Computers can get infected without their users' knowledge simply by a visit to any website that has been compromised by hackers, said Joshua Drake, a senior research scientist with the security firm Accuvant.

Java is a computer language that enables programmers to write one set of code to run on virtually any type of machine. It is widely used on the internet so that Web developers can make their sites accessible from multiple browsers running on Microsoft Windows PCs or Macs from Apple.

An Oracle spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment on the matter.

Security experts recommended that users not enable Java for universal use on their browsers. Instead, they said it was safest to allow use of Java browser plug-ins on a case-by-case basis when prompted for permission by trusted programs such as GoToMeeting, a Web-based collaboration tool from Citrix Systems.

Rapid7 has set up a web page that tells users whether their browser has a Java plug-in installed that is vulnerable to attack: www.isjavaexploitable.com/.


TOI
 
How to Unplug Java from the Browser



Mozilla Firefox: From the main menu select Add-ons, and then disable any plugins witht the word “Java” in them. Restart the browser.

Google Chrome: Click the wrench icon in the upper right corner of the browser window, then select Settings. In the search results box to the right in the next screen, type “Java”. A box labeled “Content settings” should be highlighted. Click that, and then scroll down to the Plug-ins section. Click the “Disable individual plug-ins” link, find Java in the list, and click the disable link next to it.

Internet Explorer:

Apparently, getting Java unplugged from Internet Explorer is not straightforward. The U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (USCERT) lists the following steps, which may or may not completely remove Java from IE:

In the Windows Control panel, open the Java item. Select the “Java” tab and click the “View” button. Uncheck “enabled” for any JRE version listed. Note that this method may not work on Vista or newer systems. As an alternative, you may use one of the following techniques:

- Change the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\JavaSoft\Java Plug-in\\UseJava2IExplorer registry value to 0, where is any version of Java on your system. 10.6.2, for example.

If you are running a 32-bit version of Java on a 64-bit platform, you should set the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\JavaSoft\Java Plug-in\\UseJava2IExplorer registry value to 0.

- Run javacpl.exe as administrator, click the “Advanced” tab, select “Microsoft Internet Explorer” in the “Default Java for browsers” section, and press the space bar to uncheck it. This will properly set the above registry value, despite the option being greyed out.
 
off topic : @ Biswajit Bro plz look @ http://dreamdth.com/showthread.php?tid=23288&action=lastpost
 
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