Homeland Security warns to disable Java amid zero-day flaw

Summary:The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is the latest body to warn users to disable Java software amid escalating concerns over a serious, exploitable vulnerability.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned users to disable or uninstall Java software on their computers, amid continuing fears and an escalation in warnings from security experts that hundreds of millions of business and consumer users are vulnerable to a serious flaw.

Read this

How to disable Java in your browser on Windows, Mac

Amid a serious security flaw in the latest version of Java 7, where even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned users to disable the plug-in, here's how you do it.

Hackers have discovered a weakness in Java 7 security that could allow the installation of malicious software and malware on machines that could increase the chance of identity theft, or the unauthorized participation in a botnet that could bring down networks or be used to carry out denial-of-service attacks against Web sites.

"We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem," said the DHS' Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) in a post on its Web site on Thursday evening. "This vulnerability is being attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits. Exploit code for this vulnerability is also publicly available."

Java users should disable or uninstall Java immediately to mitigate any damage.

Java is used by hundreds of millions of Windows, Mac and Linux machines -- along with mobile devices and embedded systems -- around the world to access interactive content or Web applications and services. 

The latest flaw,  as earlier reported by ZDNet , is currently being exploited in the wild, security experts have warned. Alienvault Labs have reproduced and verified claims that the new zero-day that exploits a vulnerability in Java 7, according to security expert Brian Krebs.

java-zero-day
Verifying the flaw, security researchers were able to trick the malicious Java applet to execute the Windows calculator. Credit: Alienvault Labs

It's not uncommon for the U.S. government -- or any other government agency -- to advise against security threats, but rarely does an agency actively warn to disable software; rather they offer advice to mitigate such threats or potential attacks, such as updating software on their systems.

Topics: Security, Government : US

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.