Java 7 ‘super dangerous’ vulnerability

There is a recently discovered ‘super dangerous’ vulnerability in Java 7.

This vulnerability affects all Java 7 users; whether they run a version of Windows, or using a Mac, or an Opensource Linux operating system:

Macs at risk from ‘super dangerous’ Java zero-day – Computerworld:

Hackers are exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Java 7, security experts said today.

The unpatched bug can be exploited through any browser running on any operating system, from Windows and Linux to OS X, that has Java installed, said Tod Beardsley, the engineering manager for Metasploit, the open-source penetration testing framework used by both legitimate researchers and criminal hackers.

I think the reason they have singled out Mac users in the article is that most Windows users if they have a recent version of Java installed will get upgrade notifications from Oracle’s Java. Where many Mac users until Lion had Java being updated (albeit late) by Apple. Now they are responsible to keep it updated on Lion IF they decide to install Java manually themselves. Lion and Mountain Lion do not come with Java installed by default. But if you do have it installed on your Mac:

Maynor said he was able to trigger the vulnerability with the Metasploit code in both Firefox 14 and Safari 6 on OS X 10.8, better known as Mountain Lion.

These exploits are mainly aimed at Windows users, but Macs are becoming more and more popular because overall they have less issues than Windows for viruses, etc.

But browser exploits are a bain for all computer users. And we have to keep our plugins updated to stay one step ahead.

If you are using Firefox, there is a page you can go to where you can check to see if your plugins can be checked to make sure you are up to date:

Firefox Check Plugins page

Interestingly that Check Plugins page also seems to work pretty well on Google Chrome’s browser as well. Just remember that if it tells you Flash is outdated, Google Chrome will be updating that for you on their next update.

Looks like I am off for a new Flash update… see ya next time.

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Chrome trumps IE as world’s top browser

Chrome trumps IE as world’s top browser – Computerworld

StatCounter says Google’s browser edged Microsoft’s for the week’s No. 1 spot; Chrome on pace to take May, too

Google Chrome eclipsed Microsoft's Internet Explorer for the first time last week, according to an Irish metrics company. (Data: StatCounter.)

Google Chrome eclipsed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for the first time last week, according to an Irish metrics company. (Data: StatCounter.)

This is quite understandable since Google Chrome has most of the same great extensions as Mozilla Firefox, as well as tab separation/sandboxing, active updating happens behind the scenes, and it has built-in Flash plugin so users don’t have to worry about keeping Flash updated separately since Google Chrome takes care of that.

And for those who use more than one OS, it is also cross platform.

I use Google Chrome in Linux, and as a alternative browser in both Mac and Windows, although my main browser in Mac and Linux is still Firefox for the most part.

Still, I am impressed by the money being paid out for Bounties for vulnerabilities in the Google Chrome browser. I really like that they are so pro-active about getting vulnerabilities corrected.

Google Chrome certainly makes life easier!

Attackers exploit latest Flash bug on large scale

[tweetmeme source=”franscomputerservices” only_single=false]Attackers exploit latest Flash bug on large scale, says researcher (Computerworld):

Hackers are aggressively exploiting a just-patched Flash vulnerability, serving attack code “on a fairly large scale” from compromised sites as well as from their own malicious domains, a security researcher said Friday.

The attacks exploit the critical Flash Player bug that Adobe patched June 14 with its second “out-of-band,” or emergency update, in nine days.

Check your current version of Adobe Flash and make sure you have their latest version. They have put out 2 out of band updates recently, so we all need to really be sure.

BetterPrivacy Firefox Addon

[tweetmeme source=”franscomputerservices” only_single=false]BetterPrivacy Firefox Addon

Ever wondered why you are still tracked though you tried everything to prevent it?

BetterPrivacy is a safeguard which protects from usually not deletable LSO’s on Google, YouTube, Ebay…

This is a great addon. I had no idea I had so many of these and some dated back to 2006!

They don’t show up in your normal cookies area of the browers.

So what are LSOs (wikipedia.org):

Local Shared Objects (LSO), commonly called flash cookies, are collections of cookie-like data stored as a file on a user’s computer. LSOs are used by all versions of Adobe Flash Player and Version 6 and above of Macromedia’s now-obsolete Flash MX Player.

Privacy concerns

LSOs can be used by web sites to collect information on how people navigate those web sites even if people believe they have restricted the data collection. More than half of the internet’s top websites use LSOs to track users and store information about them. There is relatively little public awareness of LSOs, and they can usually not be deleted by the cookie privacy controls in a web browser. This may lead a web user to believe a computer is cleared of tracking objects, when it is not.

Several services even use LSOs as surreptitious data storage to reinstate traditional cookies that a user deleted, a policy called “re-spawning” in homage to video games where adversaries come back to life even after being “killed”. So, even if a user gets rid of a website’s tracking cookie, that cookie’s unique ID will be assigned back to a new cookie again using the Flash data as “backup.” In USA, at least five class-action lawsuits have accused media companies of surreptitiously using Flash cookies.

In certain countries it is illegal to track users without their knowledge and consent. For example, in the UK, customers must consent to use of cookies/LSOs as defined in the “Guidance on the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003”:

Cookies or similar devices must not be used unless the subscriber or user of the relevant terminal equipment:

* is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information; and
* is given the opportunity to refuse the storage of, or access to, that information.

There is more information in the links at the bottom of that wikipedia article on LSOs. Here’s just one from EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) called EPIC Flash Cookie Page

If you install BetterPrivacy Firefox Addon, they have a very nice writeup on LSOs from the HELP button when looking at the options.

NOTE: The best part about BetterPrivacy is that you choose which ones to keep and which ones to delete. There are some sites that you likely will want to keep them and set them to be protected, but you certainly don’t need sites that you casually visit setting them and having them for years tracking your activities.