Security

Sun Patches Java Bugs

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Sun patched at least 14 vulnerabilities in Java last week as it updated the popular software to version 6.0, build 11.

The release notes for Java 1.6.0_11 , as Sun dubbed the update, skimped on details about the security flaws that were patched, but listed a total of 14 alerts, each of which will presumably provide information about at least one vulnerability.

Those alerts have not yet been published, however, leaving users in the dark about the specifics of what has been patched.

Sun also addressed 34 non-security problems with 1.6.0_11, ranging from a data corruption bug to a compatibility issue with some Java-based games.

Windows users, who account for the bulk of Java's installs, can update by clicking on the Java icon in the Control Panel, clicking on the "Update" tab, then clicking the "Update Now" button. Users running other operating systems can grab the newest version from Sun's Web site.

Mac OS X users must wait for Apple to craft its own Java update. Unlike rivals like Microsoft , Apple maintains its own version of Java and is responsible for delivering patches to Sun's software.

If the past is an accurate indicator, Apple's customers may not receive yesterday's Java fixes for months. When Apple refreshed Java in late September, for instance, it fixed more than two dozen vulnerabilities, some of which had been patched in updates for Java for Windows, Linux and Solaris as far back as March 2008 .

Apple has been frequently criticized for its sluggish patching of third-party components, particularly open-source code, that it bundles with its operating system. More than a year ago, Charles Miller, a researcher with Independent Security Evaluators, called Apple's inability to keep up with open-source fixes "negligent." More recently, Miller and others took Apple to task for not scheduling updates , instead releasing them at any time during the month.

Users can check to see which version of Java their machine is currently running by visiting this page on the Sun site.

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