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Monday, December 21, 2015
Oracle SettleS FTC Charges It Deceived Consumers About Java


Oracle has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it deceived consumers about the security provided by updates to its Java Platform, Standard Edition software (Java SE).

Under the terms of a proposed consent order, Oracle will be required to give consumers the ability to easily uninstall insecure, older versions of Java SE.

"When a company's software is on hundreds of millions of computers, it is vital that its statements are true and its security updates actually provide security for the software," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC;s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The FTC?s settlement requires Oracle to give Java users the tools and information they need to protect their computers."

According to the FTC's complaint, since acquiring Java in 2010, Oracle was aware of security issues affecting older versions of Java SE. The security issues allowed hackers' to craft malware that could allow access to consumers' usernames and passwords for financial accounts' and allow hackers to acquire other sensitive personal information through phishing attacks.

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Oracle promised consumers that by installing its updates to Java SE both the updates and the consumer's system would be "safe and secure" with the "latest security updates." During the update process, however, Oracle failed to inform consumers that the Java SE update automatically removed only the most recent prior version of the software, and did not remove any other earlier versions of Java SE that might be installed on their computer, and did not uninstall any versions released prior to Java SE version 6 update 10. As a result, after updating Java SE, consumers could still have additional older, insecure versions of the software on their computers that were vulnerable to being hacked.

While Oracle did have notices on their website relating to the need to remove older versions because of the security risk they posed, the information did not explain that the update process did not automatically remove all older versions of Java SE. The updates continued to remove only the most recent version of Java SE installed until August 2014.

Under the terms of the proposed consent order, Oracle will be required to notify consumers during the Java SE update process if they have outdated versions of the software on their computer, notify them of the risk of having the older software, and give them the option to uninstall it. In addition, the company will be required to provide broad notice to consumers via social media and their website about the settlement and how consumers can remove older versions of the software.



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