Apple has released a fix for a vulnerability in Java software running on Mac OS X machines.
After security researchers spotted active exploits taking advantage of the vulnerability, the update, for both Lion (10.7.3) and Snow Leopard (10.6.8) versions of the platform, was released to close a dozen holes in Java 1.6.0_29. Apple said the most serious may allow an untrusted Java applet to execute arbitrary code outside the Java sandbox.
That presumably refers to CVE-2012-0507, which researchers at Mac security firm Intego said was the latest variant of the password-stealing Flashback Trojan.
Intego said it had samples of variant ‘R' since 23 March and had been finding new samples and variants of this malware almost daily since then. It recommended Mac users turn off Java in their web browser.
It also said Java is no longer provided with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, but the first time a user needs to run it – when a Java applet loads, or when a user launches a Java applet on their Mac – the system will ask if the user wants to download it; if so, Apple provides the download directly and maintains its own version of Java.
Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of Qualys, said: “In addition, Mac users and IT admins for Macs should review whether Java is actually needed for their usage. If not, Java can be disabled through the Java Preferences program. Just uncheck 64-bit and 32-bit versions.”
Unpatched Java deployments are one of the largest malware threats facing enterprises today, according to Microsoft.