Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Oracle Java Quarterly Security Update, October 2015


Oracle released the scheduled critical security updates for its Java SE Runtime Environment software along with a subsequent update that includes "bug fixes". 

Unwanted "Extras"

Although most people do not need Java on their computer, there are some programs and games that require Java.  In the event you need to continue using Java, How-to Geek discovered a little-known and  unpublicized option in the Java Control Panel to suppress the offers for the pre-checked unwanted extras that Oracle has long included with the updates.  Although the Ask Toolbar has been removed, tha does not preclude the pre-checked option for some other unnecessary add-on.

Do the following to suppress the sponsor offers:
  1. Launch the Windows Start menu
  2. Click on Programs
  3. Find the Java program listing
  4. Click Configure Java to launch the Java Control Panel
  5. Click the Advanced tab and go to the "Miscellaneous" section at the bottom.
  6. Check the box by the “Suppress sponsor offers when installing or updating Java” option and click OK.
Java suppress sponsor offers

Windows XP

For information on Java support for Windows XP, organizations and individuals who must continue using Windows XP and have Java installed are referred to the Oracle blog post, The future of Java on Windows XP (Henrik on Java).


If Java is still installed on your computer, it is recommended that this update be applied as soon as possible due to the threat posed by a successful attack.

Download Information

Download link:  Java SE 8u65

Java SE 8u66 can be found here.  Select the appropriate version for your operating system.

Verify your version:

  • UNcheck any pre-checked toolbar and/or software options presented with the update. They are not part of the software update and are completely optional.
  • Starting with Java SE 7 Update 21 in April 2013, all Java Applets and Web Start Applications should be signed with a trusted certificate.  It is not recommended to run untrusted/unsigned Certificates.  See How to protect your computer against dangerous Java Applets

Critical Patch Updates

For Oracle Java SE Critical Patch Updates, the next scheduled dates are as follows:
  • 19 January 2016 
  • 19 April 2016 
  • 19 July 2016
  • 18 October 2016

Java Security Recommendations

For those people who have desktop applications that require Java and cannot uninstall it, Java can now be disabled in Internet Explorer.  See Microsoft Fix it to Disable Java in Internet Explorer.

1)  In the Java Control Panel, at minimum, set the security to high.
2)  Keep Java disabled until needed.  Uncheck the box "Enable Java content in the browser" in the Java Control Panel.

Java Security

3)  If you use Firefox or Pale Moon, install NoScript and only allow Java on those sites where it is required.

Instructions on removing older (and less secure) versions of Java can be found at


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Firefox Version 41.0.2 Released with Security Update

Mozilla sent Firefox Version 41.0.2 to the release channel.  The update includes one (1) high security update which addresses the vulnerability described in CVE-2015-7184

No update was released for Firefox ESR which remains at version 38.3.0.

Fixed in Firefox 41.0.2


To get the update now, select "Help" from the Firefox menu at the upper left of the browser window, then pick "About Firefox."  Mac users need to select "About Firefox" from the Firefox menu. If you do not use the English language version, Fully Localized Versions are available for download.


Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pale Moon Minor Updates

Pale Moon

Pale Moon has been updated to version 25.7.3.  As explained in the Release Notes, this update is due to Mozilla unexpectedly shutting down their key exchange server and old Sync servers: 

"This is a usability update needed due to the fact that Mozilla has shut down their key exchange (J-PAKE) server along with the old Sync servers. This was unexpected and required us to set up our own key server (testing indicates this works as-expected, but please do report any issues on the forum) - which also required reconfiguration of the browser.
Please note that older versions of the browser will no longer be able to link devices to a sync account using the 12-character code since it requires a Mozilla server no longer present. If you need this functionality, you must update to this version or later."

    Minimum system Requirements (Windows):
    • Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Server 2008 or later
    • A processor with SSE2 support
    • 256 MB of free RAM (512 MB or more recommended)
    • At least 150 MB of free (uncompressed) disk space
    Pale Moon includes both 32- and 64-bit versions for Windows:
    Other versions:


      To get the update now, select "Help" from the Pale Moon menu at the upper left of the browser window.  Select About Pale Moon > Check for Updates.

      Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
      May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

      Tuesday, October 13, 2015

      Microsoft Security Bulletin Release for October 2015

      Microsoft released six (6) bulletins.  Three (3) bulletins are identified as Critical and the remaining three (3) are rated Important in severity.

      The updates address vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Services and Web Apps, Microsoft Server Software, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer.

      Details about the CVEs can be found in the below-referenced TechNet Security Bulletin.  Also see the The monthly patch review – October, 2015 by Dustin Childs -- picking up where MSRC has left us hanging.

      • MS15-106 Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (3096441)
      • MS15-108 Security Update for JScript and VBScript to Address Remote Code Execution (3089659)
      • MS15-109 Security Update for Windows Shell to Address Remote Code Execution (3096443) 
        • MS15-107 Cumulative Security Update for Microsoft Edge (3096448)
        • MS15-110 Security Updates for Microsoft Office to Address Remote Code Execution (3096440) 
        • MS15-111 Security Update for Windows Kernel to Address Elevation of Privilege (3096447) 

        Additional Update Notes


          Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
          May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

          Adobe Reader Critical Quarterly Security Update

          Adobe has released the quarterly security update for Adobe Reader and Acrobat XI for Windows and Macintosh. The update addresses numerous critical vulnerabilities and should be installed as soon as possible.

          Release date: October 13, 2015
          Vulnerability identifier: APSB15-24
          CVE numbers: CVE-2015-5583, CVE-2015-5586, CVE-2015-6683, CVE-2015-6684, CVE-2015-6685, CVE-2015-6686, CVE-2015-6687, CVE-2015-6688, CVE-2015-6689, CVE-2015-6690, CVE-2015-6691, CVE-2015-6692, CVE-2015-6693, CVE-2015-6694, CVE-2015-6695, CVE-2015-6696, CVE-2015-6697, CVE-2015-6698, CVE-2015-6699, CVE-2015-6700, CVE-2015-6701, CVE-2015-6702, CVE-2015-6703, CVE-2015-6704, CVE-2015-6705, CVE-2015-6706, CVE-2015-6707, CVE-2015-6708, CVE-2015-6709, CVE-2015-6710, CVE-2015-6711, CVE-2015-6712, CVE-2015-6713, CVE-2015-6714, CVE-2015-6715, CVE-2015-6716, CVE-2015-6717, CVE-2015-6718, CVE-2015-6719, CVE-2015-6720, CVE-2015-6721, CVE-2015-6722, CVE-2015-6723, CVE-2015-6724, CVE-2015-6725, CVE-2015-7614, CVE-2015-7615, CVE-2015-7616, CVE-2015-7617, CVE-2015-7618, CVE-2015-7619, CVE-2015-7620, CVE-2015-7621, CVE-2015-7622, CVE-2015-7623, CVE-2015-7624
          Platform: Windows and Macintosh

          Update or Complete Download

          Update checks can be manually activated by choosing Help > Check for Updates.
            Note: UNcheck any pre-checked additional options presented with the update. They are not part of the software update and are completely optional.

            Windows XP

            If you are still using Windows XP and have Adobe Reader installed, please note that there will be no additional security updates for it.  I suggest uninstalling it and install an alternate reader.  Personally, I like Sumatra PDF.  It isn't a target and doesn't include unwanted extras with the install or updates.  (See Replacing Adobe Reader with Sumatra PDF.)  Adobe Reference:  End of support | Acrobat and Reader for Windows XP

            Enable "Protected View"

            Due to frequent vulnerabilities, it is recommended that Windows users of Adobe Reader and Acrobat ensure that Protected View is enabled.  Neither the Protected Mode or Protected View option is available for Macintosh users.

            To enable this setting, do the following:
            • Click Edit > Preferences > Security (Enhanced) menu. 
            • Change the "Off" setting to "All Files".
            • Ensure the "Enable Enhanced Security" box is checked. 

            Adobe Protected View
            Image via Sophos Naked Security Blog
            If you are looking for a replacement for Adobe Reader, consider Replacing Adobe Reader with Sumatra PDF.


            Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
            May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

            Adobe Flash Player and AIR Critical Security Update

            Adobe Flashplayer

            Adobe has released Version of Adobe Flash Player for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh.  The Extended Release Version was incremented to Version with this update.

            For those who use Adobe AIR, it has been updated to version  The update is available here:

            These updates address critical vulnerabilities that are actively being exploited. It is strongly advised that the updates be applied as soon as possible. Details of the vulnerabilities are included in the below-referenced Security Bulletin.

            Release date: September 21, 2015

            Vulnerability identifier: APSB15-23
            CVE number: CVE-2015-5569, CVE-2015-7625, CVE-2015-7626, CVE-2015-7627, CVE-2015-7628, CVE-2015-7629, CVE-2015-7630, CVE-2015-7631, CVE-2015-7632, CVE-2015-7633, CVE-2015-7634, CVE-2015-7643, CVE-2015-7644
            Platform: All Platforms
            • Users of the Adobe Flash Player desktop runtime for Windows and Macintosh should update to Adobe Flash Player 
            • Users of the Adobe Flash Player Extended Support Release should update to Adobe Flash Player
            • Users of Adobe Flash Player for Linux should update to Adobe Flash Player
            • Adobe Flash Player installed with Google Chrome, as well as Internet Explorer on Windows 8.x and Windows 10, will automatically update to the current version.

            Flash Player Update Instructions

            It is recommended that you either use the auto-update mechanism within the product when prompted or the direct download links.  The problem with the auto-update mechanism is that it can take a few days to finally provide the update and up to a week if using the "Notify me to install updates" setting.

            Flash Player Auto-Update

            The update settings for Flash Player versions 10.3 and above can found in the Advanced tab of the Flash Player Settings Manager.  The locations are as follows:
            • Windows: click Start > Settings > Control Panel > Flash Player
            • Macintosh: System Preferences (under Other) click Flash Player
            • Linux Gnome: System > Preferences > Adobe Flash Player
            • Linux KDE: System Settings > Adobe Flash Player
            Also note that the Flash Player Settings Manager is where to manage local settings.

            Flash Player Direct Download Links

            Warning:  Although Adobe suggests downloading the update from the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, that link includes a pre-checked option to install unnecessary extras, such as McAfee Scan Plus or Google Drive.  If you use the download center, uncheck any unnecessary extras.

              • If you use the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, be careful to uncheck any optional downloads that you do not want.  Any pre-checked option is not needed for the Flash Player update.
              • Uncheck any toolbar offered with Adobe products if not wanted.
              • If you use alternate browsers, it is necessary to install the update for both Internet Explorer as well as the update for alternate browsers.
              • The separate 32-bit and 64-bit uninstallers have been replaced with a single uninstaller.

              Verify Installation

              To verify the Adobe Flash Player version number installed on your computer, go to the About Flash Player page, or right-click on content running in Flash Player and select "About Adobe Flash Player" from the menu. 

              Do this for each browser installed on your computer.

              To verify the version of Adobe Flash Player for Android, go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications > Adobe Flash Player x.x.


              Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
              May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

              Thursday, October 01, 2015

              October -- Cyber Security Awareness Month

              Each year additional organizations join in the effort to spread information on cyber security awareness.

              The 2015 Cyber Security Awareness Month marks the fifth anniversary of the campaign

                Stop | Think | Connect

              With that in mind, consider the following suggestions not only during Cyber Security Awareness month but every day:

              Stop:  Before you click that formatted link in your email, search results or social media account, mouse over the link to ensure the URL matches the description.

              Think:  Whether it is email, Facebook, Twitter, an online forum or other online media, instead of spouting off the first reply that comes to mind when you disagree, think before you click the send button.  Remember that your online reputation can follow you in "real life".

              Connect:  When you connect to the Internet, ensure your device software as well as any apps or third-party software are up to date.

              Cyber Security Awareness Month Resources

              The United States isn't the only country supporting cyber security awareness.  Canada and the European Union are also involved in promoting cyber security awareness month.  Visit their sites along with the others listed.

              Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
              May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...