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Sun patches critical JRE security flaws

Patches aimed at vulnerabilities in Java Runtime Environment that could occur when processing GIF images.

Sun Microsystems has issued a critical security patch to address vulnerabilities in Sun's Java Runtime Environment when it processes graphics interchange format, or GIF, images.

The security flaws could allow an attacker to gain control of a user's system via an untrusted Java applet, which in turn could allow attackers to grant themselves permission to read and write local files or execute applications on the user's computer, according to an advisory issued by Secunia on Wednesday.

Exploitation of these vulnerabilities, however, requires a user to visit a malicious Web site, as noted by Zero Day Initiative, which reported the vulnerability with the aid of an anonymous researcher.

The security flaws affect Sun's Java Development Kit (JDK) and Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 5.0 update 9 and earlier, Software Development Kit (SDK) and JRE 1.4.2_12 and earlier; as well as SDK and JRE 1.3.1_18 and earlier for the Windows, Linux and Solaris platforms, according to an advisory issued by Sun on Tuesday.

Sun issued several patches to address the problem, which is somewhat similar to previous security flaws found in JRE.