Oracle plugs 42 Java flaws in critical update

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170 patches across product range as Oracle looks to restore confidence

Oracle is issuing 170 security patches – with 42 for Java alone – in a set of critical updates for its products.

In the update for Java, the company said users should take action as soon as possible, with 19 of the patches fixing issues that were given the company's highest risk factor of ten.

"This Critical Patch Update contains 42 new security fixes for Oracle Java SE - 39 of these vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication," the company said. "They may be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password."

The company also cautioned anyone who had missed previous updates to check back through their records so see what needed updating.

It's a fight for the Java plugin's life. Either a lot of companies are going to turn these off, or they are going to have their confidence restored

Java has been the target of a series of attacks taking advantage of unpatched flaws, and while the latest set of fixes was viewed as a chance to rebuild confidence it's unclear whether too much damage.

Java attacks hit hundred of companies including Apple, Facebook and Twitter in February, and security experts warned computer users to ditch Java full stop in January.

"It was pretty embarrassing what happened with the Facebook attacks," IDC analyst Al Hilwa told Reuters.

"It's a fight for the Java plugin's life. Either a lot of companies are going to turn these off, or they are going to have their confidence restored."

As well as the 42 Java patches, the company also moved to shore up its other products with 128 patches, including three for its flagship Database product and 12 for its Fusion Middleware.

Apple updates

Apple has also released two security updates, one addressing a vulnerability in Java 6, which the company maintains on its Mac OS X platform.

The second patch mends a vulnerability in WebKit, the rendering engine in the Safari browser, but the fix has taken several weeks to surface since first being exploited.

"The WebKit vulnerability was also originally found in the Pwn2Own competition, but in this case in Google's Chrome browser," said Wolfgang Kandek, CTO at security firm Qualys. "Google fixed the vulnerability last month, the day after it was handed to them by the organisers of the competition."

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