October 2012 Critical Patch Update and Critical Patch Update for Java SE Released

Hi, this is Eric Maurice.

Oracle has just released the October 2012 Critical Patch Update and the October 2012 Critical Patch Update for Java SE

As a reminder, the release of security patches for Java SE continues to be on a different schedule than for other Oracle products due to commitments made to customers prior to the Oracle acquisition of Sun Microsystems.  We do however expect to ultimately bring Java SE in line with the regular Critical Patch Update schedule, thus increasing the frequency of scheduled security releases for Java SE to 4 times a year (as opposed to the current 3 yearly releases).  The schedules for the “normal” Critical Patch Update and the Critical Patch Update for Java SE are posted online on the Critical Patch Updates and Security Alerts page.

The October 2012 Critical Patch Update provides a total of 109 new security fixes across a number of product families including: Oracle Database Server, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle E-Business Suite, Supply Chain Products Suite, Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Oracle Industry Applications, Oracle FLEXCUBE, Oracle Sun products suite, Oracle Linux and Virtualization, and Oracle MySQL.

Out of these 109 new vulnerabilities, 5 affect Oracle Database Server.  The most severe of these Database vulnerabilities has received a CVSS Base Score of 10.0 on Windows platforms and 7.5 on Linux and Unix platforms.  This vulnerability (CVE-2012-3137) is related to the “Cryptographic flaws in Oracle Database authentication protocol” disclosed at the Ekoparty Conference.  Because of timing considerations (proximity to the release date of the October 2012 Critical Patch Update) and the need to extensively test the fixes for this vulnerability to ensure compatibility across the products stack, the fixes for this vulnerability were not released through a Security Alert, but instead mitigation instructions were provided prior to the release of the fixes in this Critical Patch Update in My Oracle Support Note 1492721.1.  Because of the severity of these vulnerabilities, Oracle recommends that this Critical Patch Update be installed as soon as possible.

Another 26 vulnerabilities fixed in this Critical Patch Update affect Oracle Fusion Middleware.  The most severe of these Fusion Middleware vulnerabilities has received a CVSS Base Score of 10.0; it affects Oracle JRockit and is related to Java vulnerabilities fixed in the Critical Patch Update for Java SE. 
The Oracle Sun products suite gets 18 new security fixes with this Critical Patch Update.  Note also that Oracle MySQL has received 14 new security fixes; the most severe of these MySQL vulnerabilities has received a CVSS Base Score of 9.0.

Today’s Critical Patch Update for Java SE provides 30 new security fixes.  The most severe CVSS Base Score for these Java SE vulnerabilities is 10.0 and this score affects 10 vulnerabilities.  As usual, Oracle reports the most severe CVSS Base Score, and these CVSS 10.0s assume that the user running a Java Applet or Java Web Start application has administrator privileges (as is typical on Windows XP). However, when the user does not run with administrator privileges (as is typical on Solaris and Linux), the corresponding CVSS impact scores for Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability are "Partial" instead of "Complete", typically lowering the CVSS Base Score to 7.5 denoting that the compromise does not extend to the underlying Operating System. 

Also, as is typical in the Critical Patch Update for Java SE, most of the vulnerabilities affect Java and Java FX client deployments only.  Only 2 of the Java SE vulnerabilities fixed in this Critical Patch Update affect client and server deployments of Java SE, and only one affects server deployments of JSSE.  This reflects the fact that Java running on servers operate in a more secure and controlled environment.  As discussed during a number of sessions at JavaOne, Oracle is considering security enhancements for Java in desktop and browser environments. 

Finally, note that the Critical Patch Update for Java SE is cumulative, in other words it includes all previously released security fixes, including the fix provided through Security Alert CVE-2012-4681, which was released on August 30, 2012.

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