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New Targeted Mac OS X Trojan Requires No User Interaction

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:01PM (#39688735)

    So, what you're saying is, It Just Works?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by firex726 (1188453)

      It Just Gets Infected!

    • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:05PM (#39688775) Homepage Journal

      Isn't a Trojan that requires no user interaction by definition a Virus?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:24PM (#39688961)
        No, because you still have to navigate to a web site. It is a trojan because they need to entice you to do so.
      • by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:44PM (#39689111)

        Isn't a Trojan that requires no user interaction by definition a Virus?

        Not really.

        Trojan - malware posing as legitimate software.

        Virus - malware that copies itself either replacing or attaching to legitimate software.

        Worm - malware that copies itself from system to system automatically without user interaction.

        This software seems to be automatically installed when the user follows a link in their Web browser, but there is no indication that it in any way sends more links to people. So this malware does not fit neatly into any of the common categories. "Virus" seems to be a catch all term these days so you might as well call it that.

        • by nuckfuts (690967)
          If you have to click on a link, that's interaction.
        • by Altieres Rohr (1286518) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:40PM (#39689469) Homepage

          The definition of worm is not "malware that copies itself from system to system automatically without user interaction". Worm is self-replicating code that uses a network, by some defintions, and, by others, a worm is any malware that spreads by itself but does not parasite legitimate software (thus why "USB worms").

          Although the Morris worm did not require user interaction, this is not true of all future malware that would be considered a worm. Malware that copies itself to network drives, P2P software shared folders, or attaches itself to or sends e-mail, IM or IRC messages are all worms.

          As for trojans, any malware that does not replicate is a trojan. Back in the day, and even today, the only way to convince a user to run such software is by advertising it as another piece of software - thus why the trojan horse definition. Exploit code changed that, but they're all still trojans, and most still fallback to advertising themselves as a Flash player plugin or video codec when the exploit doesn't work. In any case, this new malware doesn't replicate, so it is a trojan.

          There is no malware category to describe code that requires no user interaction to run. Exploits, worms and viruses and trojans all can do it, but that's not required by their definitions.

          Reference: http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/labs_global/threat-types [f-secure.com]

          • by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @08:33PM (#39689803)

            The definition of worm is not "malware that copies itself from system to system automatically without user interaction". Worm is self-replicating code that uses a network, by some defintions, and, by others, a worm is any malware that spreads by itself but does not parasite legitimate software (thus why "USB worms").

            I worked in the security industry for many years and never heard anyone call something a "usb worm". If it is copying itself as the result of user interaction, we always called it a virus. If it spread on its own, it was a worm. The definition of "worm" you provide does not seem to differentiate itself from a virus in any way. Something that copies itself via shared disks is almost the classic poster child for a virus. The term originated talking about malware spread on floppies.

            Darn you kids and your newfangled definitions!

            • by Altieres Rohr (1286518) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @09:21PM (#39690045) Homepage

              Mass-mailers requiring user interaction are called worms since forever. But many older worms used some form of exploit code, and Melissa was called a virus because it was actually an Office file infector (a macro virus). It's easy to see the reason for confusion.

              Love Letter was already being called a worm without exploiting any flaws back in 2000, though*, so was Sircam in 2001 and Bugbear/Thanatos in 2002. By the time Netsky, Beagle and Mimail were around, it was pretty clear a worm was any malware that replicated itself completely over a network and without the use of a host file. When USB drives became common, the term was used for those as well. Floppy viruses infected the boot sector ("infected" being the keyword); malware that spreads over USB just use the Windows autorun function.

              Any malware parasite can infect a program that will end up in a USB drive, in the same way that the Parite virus ended up spreading over e-mail when it infected a copy of Beagle (IIRC). A USB worm specifically looks for connected USB drives and copies itself to them. There's a difference.

              * http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2000-04.html [cert.org]

      • by Frankie70 (803801) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:27PM (#39689373)

        Fix available here [microsoft.com].

    • by Mitchell314 (1576581) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:10PM (#39688827)
      Oh come on slashdot, I'm a mac fan and even I found this funny. No need to mod down.
  • Missing from summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:02PM (#39688747) Homepage

    from TFA: "if you’ve downloaded and installed the latest software updates from Apple that patch the Java vulnerabilities (or disabled Java), you’re safe" (for now).

    But it looks like the good times are over.

    • by slashmydots (2189826) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:05PM (#39688779)
      I didn't consider mac users lording their "super advanced security and magical virus immunity" as "good times." It's about time someone reminded them that Windows is far more secure, it's just targetted more. This is going to be the beginning of a long line of taking them down a notch.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I didn't consider mac users lording their "super advanced security and magical virus immunity" as "good times."

        But we sure did!

      • by errandum (2014454) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:40PM (#39689081)

        Well, the general idea is that they were very secure. Not too long ago I was modded into oblivion because I said windows is, by design, more secure that Mac OS. So obviously, I dropped the subject and never posted about it again.

        If no one is allowed to talk about it, the general impression will be that they are, indeed, more secure (at least here).

        • by Tom (822)

          I said windows is, by design, more secure that Mac OS

          Comparing apples and oranges. Different approaches in security seldom compare naively along one axis. There are many good approaches in windows, and many good approaches in OS X (it hasn't been called Mac OS for a decade now, maybe if you'd get up to speed...)

          The issue is more often implementation, where both MS and Apple blunder. But don't forget that it took a decade of heavy fire from pretty much everyone before MS finally woke up and put a focus on security. Before that, their crap contained the most sh

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        20-30 new viruses a day for windows 1 virus for the mac in 10 years shows windows is more secure?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's called the beginning of the Bell Curve. There's a sweet spot coming up. A real white knuckle ride.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is going to be the beginning of a long line of taking them down a notch.

        What? really? So just because someone uses a Mac instead of Windows means they somehow think they are superior to you? I'm sure there are some people that use Mac that think they are superior but that doesn't mean that everyone using a Mac thinks that. So how about you get off your high horse and stop condemning people based on what OS they choose. I personally prefer Mac OS to Windows. I grew up on Windows from Windows 3.1 to Windows Vista. For me, Mac OS is far more intuitive and streamlined. When I think

        • Re:OS Preference (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Phrogman (80473)

          It would really be nice to think that the majority of /.ers are mature enough to just accept that other OSes exist and that some people prefer them. However, apparently most of us are children when it comes to OS preference and have to take an antagonistic and condescending approach to dealing with anyone who differs from our preference. Sad.
          My first computer was an Amiga 500. Then I bought an IBM PC clone. I have used MS products for years (DOS 4 -> Windows XP). I didn't particularly like them as they w

      • by Jeremi (14640)

        It's about time someone reminded them that Windows is far more secure, it's just targetted more.

        ... so using Windows is like living in the Green Zone in Baghdad? Sounds appealing!

    • Is that Java security hole that we heard about over the last weeks Mac-specific or cross-platform? Any reason to worry or to have our belief in Java security shattered? Or just a conspiracy of several factors in the Mac environment?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Any reason to worry or to have our belief in Java security shattered?

        Java has security?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:48PM (#39689129)

        Is that Java security hole that we heard about over the last weeks Mac-specific or cross-platform? Any reason to worry or to have our belief in Java security shattered? Or just a conspiracy of several factors in the Mac environment?

        The malware writers could in theory do the same thing to Linux distros. However the openjdk and java on Linux is essentially different in as much as the methods to run and install to a user home directory a downloaded .so the way this malware does cannot happen on Linux distros in as much as the user is the only one on Linux who can direct which binaries run from within a user profile at login.

        I know this is a mouthful for those who do not understand but I would highly recommend looking into how exactly this malware works. Here is how the default set-up of OS X can be subverted to install a binary to a hidden user directory without user permission or knowledge. Then download a binary which is really smart that will try to get user permission to install system wide and if it does not receive this permission it just does it to the ill informed Mac user without permission. With Linux the system would not allow a .so to be loaded to a user /home directory and then set it to run at login. This is the problem with Mac security there is also a huge hole in the way binaries can run from within a /home at login without permission!

        Here is a run-down of how it works and why it will only work on Mac because its method of infection does not require user interaction to install the payload to a users home directory with Mac OS. However I have the feeling that this security nightmare will be addressed by the Apple coders simply by doing things the way most Linux distros do!

        From a CNET article:

        How does it work?

        The Flashback malware injects code into applications (specifically Web browsers) that will be executed when they run, and which then send screenshots and other personal information to remote servers.

        First step: Exploiting Java
        When you encounter the malicious Web page containing the malware and have an unpatched version of Java running on your system, it will first execute a small Java applet that when run will break the Java security and write a small installer program to the user's account. The program is named something like .jupdate, .mkeeper, .flserv, .null or .rserv, and the period in front of it makes it appear hidden in the default Finder view.

        In addition, the Java applet will write a launcher file named something like "com.java.update.plist", "com.adobe.reader.plist", "com.adobe.flp.plist" or even "null.plist" to the current user's ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ folder, which will continually launch the .jupdate program whenever the user is logged in.

        In order to avoid detection, the installer will first look for the presence of some antivirus tools and other utilities that might be present on a power user's system, which according to F-Secure include the following: /Library/Little Snitch /Developer/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/MacOS/Xcode /Applications/VirusBarrier X6.app /Applications/iAntiVirus/iAntiVirus.app /Applications/avast!.app /Applications/ClamXav.app /Applications/HTTPScoop.app /Applications/Packet Peeper.app

        If these tools are found, then the malware deletes itself in an attempt to prevent detection by those who have the means and capability to do so. Many malware programs use this behavior, as was seen in others such as the Tsunami malware bot.

        Second step: Downloading the payload
        When the jupdate program executes, it will connect to a remote server and download a payload program that is the

        • by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @08:10PM (#39689657) Homepage

          The malware writers could in theory do the same thing to Linux
          distros. However the openjdk and java on Linux is essentially
          different in as much as the methods to run and install to a user
          home directory a downloaded .so the way this malware does
          cannot happen on Linux distros in as much as the user is the
          only one on Linux who can direct which binaries run from within
          a user profile at login.

          If you are able to alter the user's files, then you can pretty much do anything you want with their account. The trick is just figuring out how to do so based what ever GUI they happen to be running. For Macs there just happens to be a single approach. There's no reason this approach couldn't be tailored to Linux and sort itself out with GNOME and KDE. If there's a similar autostart mechanism, then the virus can just manipulate that.

          At the very least, it could install itself at the end of .login or .bashrc.

        • by SiMac (409541) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @08:20PM (#39689699) Homepage

          I'm not sure what you're talking about here. If you have access to a user's account, you can set a binary to run when a user logs in on Linux without administrator privileges. You can call gksudo to put up a dialog asking for administrative privileges so you can modify other users' files as well, or just put up the dialog yourself and hope the user enters their password. This is exactly the same level of security as on OS X. If there's a reason this doesn't work on Linux, you have not communicated it.

          It's unclear to me where the .so comes in, as opposed to a regular binary, but you are aware that you can set LD_PRELOAD and LD_LIBRARY_PATH to whatever you want, right?

      • by dr2chase (653338) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:50PM (#39689143) Homepage

        It WAS cross-platform (in theory). Apple was slow to release a patch, everyone else (who was up to the latest rev of Java) is fine, because non-Apple Java had a patch for this before the Trojans were deployed.

        Java has a better in-theory story than most things exposed to the web because it is (by design) invulnerable to buffer overruns. In practice, however, it uses native libraries for some important stuff, and those have the buffer overrun problem. I don't know the details of this bug, however. I find the seemingly neverending stream of vulnerabilities in everything to be more than a little depressing.

      • Is that Java security hole that we heard about over the last weeks Mac-specific or cross-platform? Any reason to worry or to have our belief in Java security shattered?

        It was cross platform. Oracle seems to have fixed it in the Windows version of Java quite a while ago, then more recently in the Mac version, although that last point seems to be a matter of contention between Apple and Oracle.

    • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:14PM (#39688863)

      But it looks like the good times are over.

      At least until you remove Java (and preferably Flash and Acrobat Reader), or set plugins to click-to-run, or they finally implement signed apps and sandboxing (which Apple keeps delaying since developers keep screaming about it).

      It's ridiculous that all browsers don't require you to approve plugins, at least on a per-site level, but it's true there are still quite a few sites out there that break in strange ways if some hidden java or flash element fails to load. Still, I'd rather live with that than trust my computers' security to Adobe and Oracle.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Billly Gates (198444)

        I have said this before here and will say this again.

        For the Tech Support pros reading this
        1. Use FoxitPDF or Summutra PDF. They will at least prompt you before blindly opening a PDF from a website and executing it in no sandbox with full javascript unlike Adobe Reader.
        2. If you must support Java for corporate users create a GPO that enforces Java in Intranet only! No internet zone java if you must use crappy Kronos or ADP apps. If the users need Java in IE for an external site add it to a special custom se

        • by JDG1980 (2438906)

          Java is not going away and neither is flash nor pdfs.

          One of these things is not like the others.

          PDFs and Flash objects are an integral part of modern Web browsing. Java is not. If you tried browsing with no Flash plugin or PDF viewer, you'd quickly run across a bunch of sites where you got a severely degraded experience and/or couldn't view the content. But I haven't had a Java plugin installed on my PC for years, and guess how many sites I've run across that need one? Zero. Not a single one. The only rea

          • by rubycodez (864176)
            you can it severely degraded, I call it more usable without unnecessary cruft. Java and Flash are doomed, for similar reasons.
      • by nashv (1479253)

        A lot of things look ridiculous in hindsight. It's all a work in progress, always will be.

      • by am 2k (217885)

        At least until [...] they finally implement signed apps and sandboxing (which Apple keeps delaying since developers keep screaming about it).

        No, sandboxing is there and working fine (actually too fine, that's why the devs keep screaming), it's just not mandatory for apps in the MAS yet. You can enable a sandbox column in the activity monitor to check which apps are already using it.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      The bad guys are definitely after Apple and Android now. They had better not get caught with corporate sponsorship or things will go very badly.
  • by Hercules Peanut (540188) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:05PM (#39688777)
    I understand the purpose and value of malware protection but from the article we first read:

    The Java exploits appear to be pretty standard, but have been obfuscated using ZelixKlassMaster to avoid detection by anti-malware products.

    then

    This Trojan further underlines the importance of protecting Macs against malware with an updated anti-virus program as well as the latest security updates.

    Doesn't that seem to come off as a slightly counter-intuitive statement? Is it unreasonable to come away from this article asking yourself "Why buy anti-virus when the malware just avoids it anyway?"

    • Re:Contradiction (Score:5, Informative)

      by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:19PM (#39688919)

      This Trojan further underlines the importance of protecting Macs against malware with an updated anti-virus program as well as the latest security updates.

      Doesn't that seem to come off as a slightly counter-intuitive statement? Is it unreasonable to come away from this article asking yourself "Why buy anti-virus when the malware just avoids it anyway?"

      It is trying to hide its similarity to other malware so that a new signature is needed to detect this specific variant. So while anti-virus programs may not detect this now, within a few days they probably will, at least until there is yet another variant. Apple is, of course, including their own signatures right in the OS so that makes antivirus less attractive as well, although Apple's response time has been hit and miss.

      • A good anti virus software package will look for apps with strange behaviors and sandbox or block them.

        For shit and kicks I weird download happened automatically from the PirateBay yesterday. I ran it through a VirtualBox and even though Avast! did not pick up the malware signature it did flag it and immediately sandboxed it as it said its behavior was typical of tojans and malware. I was impressed.

        I know some slashdoters with very outdated 1990s knowledge think you are fine without any anti virus package a

  • Apple Culture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:12PM (#39688847)

    I hope the recent rash of Malware for the Mac will serve to change the culture of security at Apple. They have a lot of really good technology in that regard and many very good coders who work with security as a priority (they have a lot of oldschool UNIX guys these days). The problem is, it is not a priority for Apple or part of their culture. Some Apple software ships with what looks like no security review at all and no real consideration, while other software clearly was architected with that as a design goal.

    They have some very nice sandboxing, but they don't apply it very widely within OS X, even when there is no pain to the user or developer. It is like they just don't want to spend money and resources on that sort of hardening. You send a security hole to Apple and sometimes you hear back the next day and it is fixed in short order. Other times you hear nothing or malware is known and spreading for weeks before Apple bothers to issue a filtering signature.

    Hey Apple! Wake up and smell the coffee. Dump some of your cash reserves into expanding work in security and having some experts paying attention and getting things done. "Think Different" about security and listen to the people you already have that have created groundbreaking security systems elsewhere.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:17PM (#39688909) Journal

    Unless you know you need Java, disable it. Also, install something like Noscript for whatever browser you use. You'll be safe then, at least against the types of attacks we've been seeing.

    I don't recall there ever being a self-replicating worm for a *nix platform that could infect you just by being unpatched and connected to the network; please correct me if I'm wrong. You have to actually navigate to an infected site for these trojans to get you.

  • Market share (Score:4, Insightful)

    by devleopard (317515) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:40PM (#39689073) Homepage

    This is inevitable, and will continue. OSX have gone from 2% to an estimated 14% market share since 2003 [wikipedia.org]

    Android has something like a 47% share in the smartphone space.. and there's a report of malware weekly.

    I think it's fair to say that it's easier to find a hole (ugh, here comes the 12 year-old humor) than to imagine all the ways people might come up with. You simply need a large enough target to make it worth their while.

    • Re:Market share (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ModernGeek (601932) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:43PM (#39689487) Homepage
      Mac OS 9 had a smaller install base than current Mac OS X and was constantly riddled with viruses. I don't think that market share alone determines whether or not something ends up riddled with viruses. That being said, Apple has been particularity lax about security these last three years.
    • by Tom (822)

      I am skeptical of the causal relation between marketshare and malware share. It has been thrown around as an argument for more than a decade, but there is little evidence for it. At the very least, the correlation is weak, as the rise in malware seems to come at arbitrary times in arbitrary bursts. Unless you postulate that somehow 14% is a magical number, plotting the curves would show they demonstrate no similarities.

      I am not saying that market share is not a factor - few malware targets NetBSD or BeOS o

  • by mr_lizard13 (882373) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @06:42PM (#39689103)

    Kaspersky refers to it as 'Backdoor.OSX.SabPub.a' while Sophos calls it at 'SX/Sabpab-A.'

    Those names are very un-Apple. How about just 'iTrojan'.

    Or, to avoid confusion with the previous trojan...

    'The New iTrojan.'

  • "Kaspersky refers to it as 'Backdoor.OSX.SabPub.a' while Sophos calls it at 'SX/Sabpab-A.'""

    G3ckoG33k calls it BotOxAss-A.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:02PM (#39689199)

    Mac users need to stop running their day-to-day stuff under Administrator accounts. Create a new account (if your account is "joe", call this new one "joe_admin"); give it admin permissions; make sure you can log in with it; then (and ONLY then!) remove the admin permissions from your personal account. And then... keep using the same account you've always been using.

    On those rare occasions you need to use admin permissions - such as when you are installing software - you'll be prompted to authenticate as an admin, just like you already are. The only difference is you'll need to type that new admin account's ("joe_admin") into the authentication window rather than use your own account. It's brain-dead simple.

    The reason for this (in case you're saying "but the Mac already warns you to authenticate, why bother?") is, when your account is an admin account, you're in the "admin" group (duh). The "admin" group has write permissions into the /Applications and /Library folders. All a bad guy needs to do to get around those authentication warnings is to invoke a bash script (or Applescript or whatever) that makes the necessary changes outside of the GUI.

    If you're not running as an admin, a malicious script can still theoretically mess with your personal files and folders; but not the system-level ones.

    • This can be installed with just a user account too. Its a memory corruption bug so it simply injects itself to processes already running as admin through local priveldges. However the last malware would still run under a user account but the malware could be easily deleted by deleting the account. Still with more code it can infect key system files.

      User privledges only add another step and are not foolproof.

    • by wmbetts (1306001)

      The only stuff you have access to in either directory is your own stuff. I can't write to anything else even via the command line. I can't access /etc/master.passwd or any other sensitive file unless I use sudo. I might be wrong, but I think OSX more or less uses same security model as Linux.

      • No, the Linux model is closer to what I described - you're not in any privileged group, and you have to be explicitly added to /etc/sudoers before you can use sudo. OS X adds admin accounts to sudoers by default (not really a big deal, in all likelihood; but it'd be better to make that an explicit option).

        One example: Look at /Library - anything in there that's writeable to group "admin", you can get into without any confirmation. /Library/Fonts, for example - you can silently add files in there, at least i

    • by mjwx (966435) on Sunday April 15, 2012 @01:08AM (#39691003)

      Mac users need to stop running their day-to-day stuff under Administrator accounts. Create a new account (if your account is "joe", call this new one "joe_admin"); give it admin permissions; make sure you can log in with it; then (and ONLY then!) remove the admin permissions from your personal account. And then... keep using the same account you've always been using.

      Mac Users put things like this in the "too hard" basket, Macs are simple, easy to use and Automagically Secure(TM) and how dare you suggest they do something as complex and take responsibility for themselves. Who do you think they are, Windows users.

    • Given that you can run binaries from ~, I don't see how it'd give you much protection against this kind of thing - it can still install itself there, and add itself to your own (rather than system-wide) autorun scripts. That's good enough for a worm, especially if its sole reason for existence is to make your machine part of a botnet.

    • If you're not running as an admin, a malicious script can still theoretically mess with your personal files and folders; but not the system-level ones.

      What does this matter on a single user system?

      Everything of value is owned by that user anyway.

      On a multiuser system, for protection, yes, all user accounts should be isolated from each other as much as possible, but most macs are single user I imagine.

  • by oberhaus (1004585) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:04PM (#39689219) Homepage
    This attack is done by taking advantage of an exploit in the Java plugin. There are also lots of exploits in Flash (unless they have all been found and fixed...) You should try using Chrome and Click to Play: https://plus.google.com/118187272963262049674/posts/Mmgbr3BcYWb [google.com]
  • by Kenja (541830) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:13PM (#39689265)
    You are looking for com.apple.PubSabAgent.pfile & com.apple.PubSabAGent.plist and NOT com.PubSubAgent.plist or com.PubSubAgent.pfile.
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @07:57PM (#39689585)

    Guess it's time to start treating my Mac computers the same way I treat my Windows computers - in need of extra care and protection against external attacks.

    And so I've just disabled my Java and Quicktime plugins. Java because that's where all the current attacks are focused (and I never use it anyways), Quicktime because I never use it, either, and a smaller attack area is always good. I still visit enough sites that I need Flash enabled, but that's currently my only plugin (and protected by some heavy blocking rules).

    I'll also be much more strict about keeping everything up-to-date, and all the other basic security practices.

    Next, guess I need a basic virus-scanner. The only GPL one I see is Clam, which, last time I used it, was completely ineffective at stopping viruses. The one I use on Windows, MSE, is naturally not available on the Mac. So, any suggestions?

  • Java sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @08:13PM (#39689673)

    A large part of the blame for this rests on Sun/Oracle's idiotic decision to install the browser plugin by default when the Java runtime is installed.

    Most users don't need Java at all. Of those who do, a majority of them don't need it in the browser. And of those who do need it in the browser, they only need it for a small handful of websites, not any and every site on the entire WWW. What should happen is that Java installs by default for desktop applications only with no browser plugin. If the browser plugin IS enabled, then by default it should work only on explicitly whitelisted sites or domains, not everywhere. Of course, there should be methods for system administrators to roll out custom whitelist configurations to users in bulk. But apparently no one at Oracle has heard of the principle of least privilege [wikipedia.org], so we get crap like this every couple of months.

    If you have Java, please reevaluate whether or not you really need it. If you do need it, but only for desktop apps (and/or development) and not for browser based apps, then remove the browser plugin. There are virtually no legitimate public websites that use Java, but a lot of malware that exploits the plugin for evil purposes.

  • by emt377 (610337) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @10:39PM (#39690377)

    Why would anyone want Java in their browser? I don't have the JRE plugin and would never install it. There's no need for Java to run in a browser. Desktop apps is a different matter, Eclipse and such are quite useful. And it's eminently practical on the server side. But in the browser? That's completely legacy, and Apple should just stop distributing the plugin for Safari.

    • by emt377 (610337)

      I guess default is that it's not installed on Chrome. Default for some bizarre reason is to install this shovelware on Safari. Quit Safari, then remove with:
      $ sudo -s
      # rm -f /Library/Internet\ Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin
      # rm -rf /System/Library/Java/Support/CoreDeploy.bundle/Contents/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin
      # exit

      Restart Safari. Gone!

      • by cmdrbuzz (681767)

        Why not just untick the 'Enable Java' checkbox under Security in Safari Preferences?

        As the next Java update will put those plugin's back.

    • by Freultwah (739055)
      Some banks need it for smartcard based authentication. (Do not ask me why.) Also, me like this nice chromatic guitar tuner at www.seventhstring.com.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        some banks need it for authentication just because the consulting contract went to asshats("and we got this extra layer of security by installing these native dll's on the users machine through running a java plugin! oh and by the way this way you can buy an iphone, android and symbian applications for mobile use, since the default netbanking solution will not let you login, sure it would work perfectly after the login but the login can only be done through this java applet, so it's really high tech buy buy

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