In First, Apple Provides Java Update in Sync With Oracle

Antone Gonsalves June 14, 2012
For the first time, Apple has updated Java for Mac OS X on the same day Oracle patched vulnerabilities in the application framework that has become a favorite target of hackers.

Oracle has released Java 6 Update 33 and Java 7 Update 5, which collectively fixed 14 vulnerabilities. Apple followed suit with Java update 1.6.0_33, which fixed 11 of the 14 flaws. 

"This is the first time that I can ever recall Apple actually doing a reasonable job with a patch for Java from Oracle," Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst from Lumension, said. "Normally, it's many, many months."

Those previous delays caught up with Apple in April when roughly 650,000 Macs worldwide were infected with the Flashback malware after the company released a patch for Java six weeks after Oracle. Oracle owns Java through the 2009 acquisition of Sun Microsystems. 

While security experts commended Apple for the timely release, they were still unhappy with the company's closed-mouth approach to security. For example, in the latest release, Apple has given no explanation for not patching three of the vulnerabilities.

"We don't know why Apple only used 11 of the 14 Java updates Oracle released," Andrew Storms, director of security operations for nCircle, said in an e-mail. "It could be that not all the bugs fixed in the three extra updates are applicable to the Mac, and it could be something else entirely."

While that lack of disclosure doesn't stop consumers from buying Macs, it does keep many corporations on the sidelines, Henry said.