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Java update for OS X patches Flashback malware exploit

Apple responds to Flashback malware development with a Java update in less than a week.

Topher Kessler MacFixIt Editor
Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.
Topher Kessler
2 min read

Following the recent Flashback malware developments for OS X where unpatched vulnerabilities in the latest Java runtime for OS X were being exploited, Apple has issued an update that brings Java up-to-date and patches these vulnerabilities.

The patch is available via Software Update for systems that have Java installed, but can also be downloaded from the following Apple support Web pages. The update is available only for OS X 10.6 and 10.7, since Apple has stopped supporting prior versions of OS X.

These updates specifically patch the CVE-2012-0507 vulnerability that was being used by the Flashback malware to exploit Mac systems, but in addition it has patched a number of other vulnerabilities in version 29 of the Java 1.6.0 VM. This latest update should bring the installed version of Java 1.6.0 to version 31.

If you have Java installed, you can check the version in the Java Preferences utility in your /Applications/Utilities/ folder, or you can launch the Terminal and run the command "java -version" to see an output of the current active version on your system.

This update is highly recommended for people with Java installed on their systems, as it patches an exploit that is actively being pursued by malware developers, so be sure to back up your systems and install this update as soon as possible to close off this avenue for attack.

While Apple has been criticized for lagging behind in its support of Java updates, this update has been released in less than a week since the initial reports of the latest Flashback malware variant.

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