Malware masquerades as patch for Java

The malware, ironically, does not actually exploit the Java vulnerabilities, according to Trend Micro
  • Jeremy Kirk (IDG News Service)
  • — 18 January, 2013 01:22

Trend Micro has spotted a piece of malicious software that masquerades as the latest patch for Java, a typically opportunistic move by hackers.

Oracle released two emergency patches on Sunday for its Java programming language and application platform, which is installed on millions of computers worldwide.

The latest version of Java is Update 11. Trend Micro wrote on its blog that it was alerted to a fake "Java Update 11" present on at least one website. If a user installs the bogus update, a malicious backdoor program is downloaded.

"Once executed, this backdoor connects to a remote server that enables a possible attacker to take control of the infected system," wrote Paul Pajares, a fraud analyst with Trend.

Hackers often disguise their malware as a legitimate software update in the hope of confusing IT staff. Interestingly in this case, the fake update doesn't actually exploit the vulnerabilities that Oracle patched on Sunday, Pajares wrote. The user is tricked into downloading a different piece of malware.

"The use of fake software updates is an old social engineering tactic," Pajares wrote. "This is not the first time that cybercriminals took advantage of software updates."

Pajares advised users to download updates only from Oracle's website. Trend Micro, along with other computer security firms and experts, are generally advising that users uninstall Java if it isn't needed, which helps eliminate exposure to the risks from software flaws.

Users can also opt to keep Java on their computer but disable it within the Web browser, which is how the latest vulnerabilities exposed users to attack.

The two vulnerabilities patched by Oracle on Sunday both could be exploited by a malicious "applet," a Java application that's downloaded from another server and runs if a user has Java installed. Applets are often embedded in Web pages and run in the browser.

Security reporter Brian Krebs wrote on Wednesday that a zero-day Java exploit for an apparently brand-new vulnerability was being advertised for US$5,000 in an underground hacking forum. The advertisement was posted for a short time, then disappeared, Krebs wrote.

Oracle officials did not respond to an email request for comment.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Tags: security, trend micro, Desktop security, data protection, Exploits / vulnerabilities, malware

Google introduces Chrome 'factory reset' pop-ups to tackle extensions hijacks

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]
Comments are now closed.
CSO Corporate Partners
  • Webroot
  • Trend Micro
  • NetIQ
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to CSO, invitation only events, reports & analysis.
CSO Directory

Email Security and Data Protection

Encrypt your sensitive email

Latest Jobs
Security Awareness Tip

Incident handling is a vast topic, but here are a few tips for you to consider in your incident response. I hope you never have to use them, but the odds are at some point you will and I hope being ready saves you pain (or your job!).


  1. Have an incident response plan.

  2. Pre-define your incident response team 

  3. Define your approach: watch and learn or contain and recover.

  4. Pre-distribute call cards.

  5. Forensic and incident response data capture.

  6. Get your users on-side.

  7. Know how to report crimes and engage law enforcement. 

  8. Practice makes perfect.

For the full breakdown on this article

Security ABC Guides

Warning: Tips for secure mobile holiday shopping

I’m dating myself, but I remember when holiday shopping involved pouring through ads in the Sunday paper, placing actual phone calls from tethered land lines to research product stock and availability, and actually driving places to pick things up. Now, holiday shoppers can do all of that from a smartphone or tablet in a few seconds, but there are some security pitfalls to be aware of.