Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Security”

Java Remains Unsafe–Not Likely To Be Fixed Soon

Guess what? We’re hearing reports this morning that the black hats are continuing to take advantage of security vulnerabilities in Java. Of course they are. That’s what black hats do. We’re also hearing from security experts that browser side Java isn’t likely to be made secure in the near future.

Oracle’s management of Java since obtaining it from Sun has been nothing short of a joke. It’s about time for them to decide if they want to keep Java or not. If they don’t want it, they need to spin it off or let it die. If they think it’s a valuable part of their software portfolio, they should treat it as such and work overtime to make it safe.

The Robo Cloud Is Coming

I was just getting used to yesterday and suddenly it’s tomorrow.

Am I the only one who worries that we’re going a little too fast in our move to bring robotics into everyday life? Shouldn’t we sit down as a group and ask first, “Is this really something we want to do?” Maybe I’ve read too much science fiction, or maybe it’s those images from The Matrix that I just can’t get out of my mind. Or maybe it’s the memory from 2001 of the mentally ill computer with self awareness, Hal, trying to convince Dave that it was all a misunderstanding and that he promises to be good if only he’s not disconnected from his power source.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Oracle Patches 2 Java Holes–At Least 5 Remain

It would seem that Oracle is getting serious about addressing security issues in Java. Late Monday the company pushed Java 7 Update 17 that fixes two security holes that were already being exploited in the wild.

The vulnerabilities addressed in Monday’s patch had been known since at least February 1 and were originally scheduled to be fixed in a scheduled security update in April, according to a security blog on the Oracle website:

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Five, Count ‘Em, Five New Security Holes In Java

Those who thought it was safe to re-up Java on their browsers will need to go back and turn it off again.

If you listen to us, after you do you’ll never turn it back on. Browser side Java has been made pretty much obsolete by newer technologies, which means you don’t need it, especially since it’s proving to be about as easy to keep secure as ActiveX, sandbox or no. Here at FOSS Force, we haven’t had it enabled on our browsers for years, with no noticeable problems when we surf the web.

You may remember that back on January 10th it was announced that Java had a security vulnerability that was already being exploited in the wild. This security hole was serious enough to prompt the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to suggest that browser side Java be turned-off on all computers.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Avast AV Finds Malware On LA Times Website

This morning the Prague based antivirus company Avast! pushed notification to it’s subscribers of the presence of malware on the LA Times website. The notification came by way of a link to a blog on the antivirus company’s site delivered with the morning’s virus signature update. According to the blog’s writer, Brian Krebs, the Times site has been affected for about a month and a half. The problem is not site wide and only affects visitors to a small section of the site:

“…Fortunately for most of the users, only one of the low-profile websites was infected, so the assumed number of the infected people is not really high. But! I checked yesterday’s stats, then day-before-yesterday and the result was a bit of shocker! We have consecutive reports of malicious iframes on their sub-site from 23rd of December and it is still working there while I’m writing this blog.”

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Java: Where Oracle, Twitter and Black Hats Meet


Back on January 24th, Oracle was sitting on their hands after issuing incomplete patches to not handle security issues in Java, issues bad enough to evoke dire warnings from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. I opined on that day that Ellison’s hired help needed to get off their duffs and come up with a good fix quick, even if Java has turned-out to be a puppy Larry Ellison no longer wants to keep. Evidently, somebody in Deadwood City felt the same way, as Oracle pushed a patch this past Friday addressing 50 security holes in the beleaguered programming language.

Wait a minutes, did I just write that the patch addressed 50 security holes? I’ve got a five pound block of Swiss cheese in the fridge that has fewer holes than that. I think if I was Larry Ellison I would be ashamed to admit I’d allowed that many security vulnerabilities to accrue unfixed while any project was under my care. I think I’d fix ten a day or something in five separate patches and try to make it look like I had my security eagles working overtime finding new holes ahead of the bad guys.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Will Oracle Wake Up & Smell the Java?

Does Oracle not know their own code?

I’m talking about Java. You know, the write-once-run-anywhere platform that seems to be severely broken from a security viewpoint, rendering it more than useless when used inside a browser.

Oracle, the company that’s owned Java since purchasing Sun Microsystems in 2010, seems to be clueless. Back in October the company pushed out a patch to fix some security holes that were already being exploited. There were complaints at the time that they were being secretive, saying little to nothing publicly about the problem, acting as if they were sweeping dust under a rug. Indeed, two months earlier, in August, the founder and CEO of the Polish security firm Security Explorations, Adam Gowdiak, told PCWorld that Oracle had known about the security problem for months:

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Dotcom’s New Mega: Not Ready For Primetime

It’s funny how things work out. Entrepreneur Kim Schmitz changed his name to “Dotcom” in respect for the technology that made him filthy rich. However, his newest website doesn’t end in dotcom. He doesn’t dare use that top level domain because that would be an open invitation to the U.S. authorities to mess with him. I think Mr. Dotcom would like to be through dealing with the American government if he can. So he’s using .nz, the top level domain code for New Zealand where he resides.

Actually, his new site is a double dot–mega.co.nz, or Mega. Originally, he planned to use the too trippy url Me.ga, using the domain country code for Gabon, a plan that was derailed because the government of Gabon didn’t want to be party to “violating copyrights.” Mr. Dotcom might be excused for suspecting the United States for being an outside instigator in this matter.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Java Still Isn’t Safe – Possible New Vulnerability

I was just guessing on Monday when I said that the Java security patch pushed by Oracle on Sunday was “too little too late.” This appears to have been a lucky good guess on my part, as word is out now that the Java browser plugin still isn’t safe.

At least that’s what Brian Krebs is reporting on his blog Krebs On Security. Evidently there’s a black hat on a hacker forum who’s offering-up info to two buyers on a new vulnerability in the latest and greatest version of Java (that would be version 7, update 11) for the sum of $5,000 each.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Java Security Vulnerability – How To Disable Java In Linux Browsers

When the Homeland Security folks get into the mix and urge all computer users to disable Java in their browsers, you know it’s serious. Indeed, the exploit announced yesterday seems to affect all operating systems, including Linux, and it’s already being exploited. According to Trend Micro the flaw is already being used by blackhat toolkits mainly to distribute ransomware. In a blog posted yesterday, the company advises all users to disable or uninstall Java:

To prevent this exploit, and subsequently the related payload, we recommend users to consider if they need Java in their systems. If it is needed, users must use the security feature to disable Java content via the Java Control Panel, that shipped in the latest version of Java 7. The said feature disables Java content in webpages. If Java content is not needed, users may opt to uninstall Java as it can pose certain security risk.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

ZoneAlarm: Defining the Difference Between Freeware and Free Software

The other day, when my friend’s laptop spit-up a warning from ZoneAlarm that she was no longer protected, I stood over her shoulder and instructed her to update the firewall. The warning was basically a scare tactic, of course. Without the update she would still be protected, just as protected as she had been the day before. She just wouldn’t have any new whiz-bang features included in the update, nor would she be able to take advantage of any new security enhancements.

We ran the default install. This was Windows, so there had to be a reboot. After that, we opened the browser to find that the homepage had been reset to a ZoneAlarm themed Google search page. We had not opted-in to any such change; the ZoneAlarm folks had just taken it on themselves to hijack Firefox’s revenue, which I didn’t think cricket.

Christine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Breaking News: