Oracle has made public its release of an "out-of-cycle" security patch to address recently identified vulnerabilities in Java 7. Reports suggest that the vulnerabilities have been "widely exploited" and so Oracle has moved to push the update out "out-of-cycle" in this way.
Tech newswires have reported use of these vulnerabilities in targeted attacks by hackers using the Metasploit tool and Blackhole exploit kit. In terms of form and function, the Java vulnerabilities are said to allow attackers to use a custom-built web page to coerce systems into downloading and running malware that does not have to be coded in Java.
After much public discussion and pressure from the security community as a whole, Oracle has moved to release the out-of-cycle security, recognizing the severity and seriousness of the problem.
NOTE: The next official release of Java was not scheduled until the 16 October.
"Due to the severity of these vulnerabilities, the public disclosure of technical details, and the reported exploitation of CVE-2012-4681 'in the wild', Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply the updates provided by this security alert as soon as possible," the company said.
This Security Alert addresses security issues CVE-2012-4681 (US-CERT Alert TA12-240A and Vulnerability Note VU#636312) and two other vulnerabilities affecting Java running in web browsers on desktops. These vulnerabilities are not applicable to Java running on servers or standalone Java desktop applications. They also do not affect Oracle server-based software.
"These vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication; i.e., they may be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password. To be successfully exploited, an unsuspecting user running an affected release in a browser will need to visit a malicious web page that leverages this vulnerability. Successful exploits can impact the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of the user's system," said Oracle.