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Security Alerts > Java Exploit - March 2013

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Security Alerts

Java Exploit - March 2013


Updated: 3/1/13

A vulnerability has been discovered in Oracle Java Runtime Environment (JRE) that can lead to remote code execution. The Java Runtime Environment is used to enhance the user experience when visiting websites and is installed on most desktops and servers. This zero-day vulnerability may be exploited if a user visits or is redirected to a specifically crafted web page. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in an attacker gaining the same privileges as the JRE application. Depending on the privileges associated with the application, an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the application,
and bypass security restrictions.

We have already disabled Java 7 on Windows desktop PCs on campus. Java 7 (Java 1.7) must be manually disabled on Windows laptops and all Macs. Individuals who may have Java 7 (Java 1.7) installed, please follow the steps below to protect your system:

  1. Find out if you have Java installed on your computer by visitinghttp://javatester.org
  2. If you do not have Java installed, then you do not need to take any action.
  3. If you do not run Banner Applications, and require Java, please install latest Java path by going to the following Oracle download site.

It should be noted that this vulnerability is being actively exploited in the wild.

SYSTEMS AFFECTED:

  •      Oracle JRE 1.6.0 Update 41 and earlier

  •      Oracle JRE 1.7.0 Update 15 and earlier

    DESCRIPTION:
    A vulnerability has been discovered in Oracle Java Runtime Environment that can lead to remote code execution. In order to exploit this vulnerability, an
    attacker must first create a web page with a specially crafted applet designed to leverage this issue. When the web page is visited, the attacker-supplied code
    is run in the context of the affected application. After triggering the vulnerability, the exploit is looking for the memory that holds JVM internal data
    structure, and then overwrites the chunk of memory as zero.

    Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could result in an attacker gaining the same privileges as the JRE application. Depending on the privileges
    associated with the application, an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the application, and bypass security restrictions.

    RECOMMENDATIONS:
    We recommend the following actions be taken:

  •      Apply the patch from Oracle, after appropriate testing, as soon as it becomes available.

  •      Consider disabling Java completely on all systems until a patch is available.

  •      Set web browser security to disable the execution of script code or active content

  •      Run all software as a non-privileged user (one without administrative privilege.es) to diminish the effects of a successful attack.

  •      Remind users not to visit un-trusted websites or follow links provided by unknown or un-trusted sources.

  •      Remind users not to open e-mail attachments from unknown users or suspicious e-mails from trusted sources.

    Faculty and staff in need or further assistance should contact the Help Desk at 212-678-3300 or email cishelpdesk@tc.columbia.edu 

    Students can stop by the Student Help Desk in 242 Horace Mann, call 212-678-3304 or email studenthelpdesk@tc.columbia.edu