Posts Tagged: CNET


16
Oct 13

Critical Java Update Plugs 51 Security Holes

Oracle has released a critical security update that fixes at least 51 security vulnerabilities in its Java software. Patches are available for Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris and Windows versions of the software.

Java7-45This update brings Java 7 to Update 45, and addresses a whole mess of security flaws. Oracle says that all but one of the 51 vulnerabilities fixed in this update may be remotely exploitable without authentication.

Updates are available from Java.com and the Java Control Panel. Apple has issued an update to its supported version of Java, which brings Java on the Mac to 1.6.0_65 for OS X 10.6.8 or later. As CNet notes, Apple is using this update to further encourage users to switch to Oracle’s Java runtime, especially for Web-based Java services.

“When this latest update is installed, according to Apple’s documentation it will remove the Apple-supplied Java plugin, and result in a ‘Missing plug-in’ section of a Web page that tries to run a Java applet,” CNet’s Topher Kessler writes. “If you click on the missing plug-in message, the system will direct you to Oracle’s Java Web site so you can download the latest version of Java 7, which will not only support the latest features in the Java runtime, but also include the latest bug and vulnerability fixes. Apple’s last supported version of Java is Java SE 6, and since handing the reigns over to Oracle, has progressively stepped back from supporting the runtime in OS X.”

Broken record alert: If you really need and use Java for specific Web sites or applications, take a few minutes to update this software. Oracle likes to remind everyone that 3 billion devices worldwide run Java, and that 89 percent of desktops run some form of Java (that roughly matches what vulnerability management firm Secunia found last year). But that huge install base — combined with a hit parade of security bugs and a component that plugs straight into the Web browser — makes Java software a perennial favorite target of malware and malcontents alike.

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6
Dec 11

Download.com Bundling Toolbars, Trojans?

It wasn’t long ago that I felt comfortable recommending CNET‘s download.com as a reputable and trustworthy place to download software. I’d like to take back that advice: CNET increasingly is bundling invasive and annoying browser toolbars with software on its site, even some open-source titles whose distribution licenses prohibit such activity.

Although this change started this summer, I only first became aware of it after reading a mailing list posting on Monday by Gordon “Fyodor” Lyon, the software developer behind the ever useful and free Nmap network security scanner. Lyon is upset because download.com, which has long hosted his free software for download without any “extras,” recently began distributing Nmap and many other titles with a “download installer” that bundles in browser toolbars like the Babylon toolbar.

CNET’s own installer is detected by many antivirus products as a Trojan horse, even though the company prefaces each download with the assurance that “CNET hosts this file and has scanned it to ensure it is virus and spyware free.” CNET also has long touted download.com’s zero tolerance policy toward all bundled adware.

Lyon said he found his software was bundled with the StartNow Toolbar, which is apparently powered by Microsoft‘s “Bing decision engine.” When I grabbed a copy of the Nmap installer from download.com and ran it on a test Windows XP machine, CNET’s installer offered the Babylon Toolbar, which is a translation toolbar that many Internet users have found challenging to remove.

The CNET download installer that I got for Nmap from download.com was made by CBS Interactive (CNET Networks was acquired by CBS in 2008), and it is detected as malicious by three antivirus products at Virustotal.com. When I unpacked the installer from the Nmap program and scanned just the installer, 10 out of the 39 antivirus products detected the file as either a Trojan horse or adware.

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