The critical Java vulnerability that is currently under attack was made possible by an incomplete patch Oracle developers issued last year to fix an earlier security bug, a researcher said.
The revelation, made Friday by Adam Gowdiak of Poland-based Security Explorations, is the latest black eye for Oracle's Java software framework which is installed on more than 1 billion PCs, smartphones, and other devices. Last year saw a steady stream of attacks that exploited Java vulnerabilities, allowing miscreants to surreptitiously install keyloggers and other malicious software when unwitting people browsed compromised websites. The abuse has already continued into 2013, when on Thursday researchers reported yet another critical bug that is being "massively exploited in the wild".
According to Gowdiak, the latest vulnerability is a holdover from a bug (referred to here as Issue 32) that Security Explorations researchers reported to Oracle in late August. Oracle released a patch for the issue in October but it was incomplete, he said in an e-mail to Ars that was later published to the Bugtraq mailing list.