Three Java vulnerabilities have been the target of more than 6 million attacks in the third quarter of 2010, Microsoft reported.
Attacks on Java reached "unprecedented" levels during the third
quarter of the year, a Microsoft researcher reported.
For the most part, attackers have been targeting three vulnerabilities that
have all been patched, noted
, senior program manager at Microsoft, in a blog post. Still,
attacks on Java number better than 6 million and have surpassed the total
number of Adobe-related attacks the company monitored.
"Java is ubiquitous, and, as was once true with browsers and document
readers like Adobe Acrobat, people don't think to update it," blogged
Stewart. "On top of that, Java is a technology that runs in the background
to make more visible components work. How do you know if you have Java
installed or if it's running?"
Out of the three, the two most exploited vulnerabilities were CVE-2008-5353,
a deserialization issue that allows remote code execution through Java-enabled
browsers on Windows, Mac OS X and other systems; and CVE-2009-3867, a remote
code execution issue caused by improper parsing of long file://URL arguments,
according to Microsoft. CVE-2008-5353 was attacked roughly 3.5 million times,
while CVE-2009-3867 was hit some 2.6 million times. The third vulnerability is
CVE-2010-0094, another deserialization issue, which was attacked more than
Oracle did not respond to a request for comment on the issue. However, Trend
Micro Advanced Threat Researcher Jamz Yaneza said the culprit is likely
used by attackers targeting low-hanging fruit.
"This is just more evidence that there is a core group of bad actors
actively creating the base malware kits and incorporating them into standard
modules in many types of malware," he said. "Think of it as a
superpack add-on. In the case of older exploits-not just Java but other
operating systems and applications of yesteryear-these come standard in a kit.
If you want the latest upgrade, that requires a certain amount of money. The
bad guys don't care of course; they'll buy it including the 24/7 support
service and upgrades-they're using your stolen credit card anyway."
In its final update for the year, Oracle
patched a number
of Java issues.
"I have a theory about why almost no one has noticed this sharp rise in
attacks on Java," blogged Stewart. "IDS/IPS
[intrusion detection/prevention system] vendors, who are typically the folks
that speak out first about new types of exploitation, have challenges with
for these issues is challenging to get right. Now, think about
incorporating a Java interpreter into an IPS
engine? The performance impact on a network IPS
could be crippling. So, the people that we expect to notice increases in
exploitation might have a hard time seeing this particular spectrum of
light. Call it Java-blindness."
Still, the number of Java exploits is low when compared with other malware
families like Zbot
(Zeus), the Microsoft researcher added.
"Considering that these vulnerabilities all have available updates from
Oracle that would prevent these attacks from being successful, this data is a
reminder that, in addition to running real-time protection, it is imperative to
apply all security updates for software, no matter what your flavor might be,"