Public Vulnerability Reports

Sun Java Runtime Environment Deployment Toolkit Command Execution Vulnerability



The Sun Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is Sun Microsystems Inc.'s implementation of the Java run-time. For more information, see the vendor's site found at the following link:


Remote exploitation of a command execution vulnerability in Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java Runtime Environment (JRE) Deployment Toolkit could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary commands with the privileges of the current user.

Sun's JRE Deployment Toolkit provides an ActiveX control and JavaScript interface to simplify Java applet deployment. The Deployment Toolkit can automatically generate HTML code require to deploy Java applets.

The Deployment Toolkit can be loaded without any user notification under both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. The Deployment Toolkit exposes a "launch" method intended to allow remote websites to launch Java WebStart applications. The launch method accepts an arbitrary string as an argument, and the string is used as a command-line argument to jawaws.exe. This condition may allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands.


Exploitation of this vulnerability results in the execution of arbitrary commands with the privileges of the user viewing the Web page. To exploit this vulnerability, a targeted user must visit a website. An attacker typically accomplishes this via social engineering or injecting content into a compromised, trusted site.

This class of vulnerability is extremely reliable as it is not dependent on memory addressing and 100 percent reliable code execution across multiple Web browsers is possible. Exploit mitigation such as Microsoft DEP has no affect on this vulnerability.


JDK and JRE 6 Update 16 and earlier are reported vulnerable. JDK and JRE 5.0, and SDK and JRE 1.4.2 and 1.3.1 are not affected by this issue.

iDefense tested the exploitation of this vulnerability on Windows XP SP3 and Windows XP SP2. iDefense believes that all platforms supported by Java Runtime Environment are affected by this vulnerability, including Linux and MacOS.


It is possible to disable the Java plugin in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and Google Chrome.


Sun Microsystems Inc. has released a patch which addresses this issue. For more information, consult their advisory at the following URL.


The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) project has assigned the name CVE-2009-3865 to this issue. This is a candidate for inclusion in the CVE list (, which standardizes names for security problems.


08/10/2009 - Initial Contact
08/10/2009 - Initial vendor reply
08/10/2009 - PoC Requested
08/12/2009 - PoC sent
11/03/2009 - Coordinated Public Disclosure


The discoverer of this vulnerability wishes to remain anonymous.

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