Internet users told to ditch web browser Java 7 plug-ins

Web browsers using the Java 7 plug-in are at high risk of attack, warns US government.

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The US government is ordering internet users to disable Java in their web browsers following the discovery of a new Oracle Java 7 zero-day vulnerability.

The glitch allows Java applets to carry out arbitrary operating system commands.

It is understood to affect web browsers that use the Java 7 plug-in, including Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.

The Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued a statement alerting internet users around the world to the issue.

Reports indicate this vulnerability is being actively exploited.

"Reports indicate this vulnerability is being actively exploited, and exploit code is publicly available," the statement reads.

It warns end users could be coerced into visiting sites hosting malicious applets, allowing hackers to execute arbitrary operating system commands on vulnerable systems.

Internet users can protect themselves by disabling Java web browser plug-ins, the statement added.

Security vendor FireEye said the vulnerability has been seized on by hackers to carry out "limited targeted attacks" originating from Chinese web servers.

Atif Mushtaq, security researcher at FireEye, called on Oracle to issue a patch in a FireEye blog post. "It will be interesting to see when Oracle plans [to patch it.] Until then, most of the Java users are at the mercy of this exploit," he wrote.

Oracle declined to comment.

The next Oracle Java patch is expected to drop on 16 October 2012.

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