Weaknesses in Java New Trend on Exploit Market, Says Security Firm

Jay Decenella, IT audit expert
August 01, 2011 /

Cyber criminals have massively turned to exploiting vulnerabilities in operating systems and programs according to security firm Kaspersky, which spotted a surge in exploits targeting Java.

“To increase the risk of infection, malware writers create and sell exploit kits – packages of malicious programs that simultaneously target several vulnerable points in the system,” said the security firm.

Active use of Java vulnerabilities has become the new trend on the exploit market, according to Vicente Diaz, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab Global Research & Analysis Team in Spain.

“Forty percent of all new exploits used by the top five kits in 2010 targeted Java,” he said.

“Last year saw Java vulnerabilities become the third most popular target for these kits, surpassed only by Internet Explorer and Adobe Reader.

“Over the course of time, exploits for new vulnerabilities are added to already existing kits which allows cybercriminals to successfully utilize loopholes detected at different times on unpatched machines as well as save on resources.”

The kits are sold on the black market “for anything from several hundred dollars to over a thousand.”

According to Microsoft Malware Protection Center, 2010 broke all records in terms of attempts to exploit Java vulnerabilities, cited Kaspersky.

“In the first half of 2011 this trend continued. Almost half of the malicious programs in two of the leading kits so far this year – BlackHole and Incoginto – are exploits for Java. The platform is so popular with the exploit authors because it is the easiest way to bypass operating system security.”

“Cybercriminals are showing once again how much they care about their return on investment and go just as far as they need to to stay one step ahead of protection mechanisms. In this case, another well known claim can be applied: security is only as strong as the weakest link – Java is the weakest link in this case,” said Diaz.


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