Internet users should consider disabling Java in their browsers because of an exploit that can allow remote attackers to execute code on a vulnerable system, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommended late Thursday.
Security researchers reported this week that cybercriminals were using a zero-day vulnerability in Java to attack computer systems. Attackers were using the vulnerability to stealthily install malware on the computers of users who visit compromised websites, researchers said.
The US-CERT security warning said the agency is "unaware of a practical solution to this problem."
Instead, US-CERT recommended Internet users disable Java in browsers. US-CERT is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The problem can allow an untrusted Java applet to escalate its privileges, without requiring code signing. Oracle Java 7 update 10 and earlier are affected, US-CERT said.
"This vulnerability is being attacked in the wild, and is reported to be incorporated into exploit kits," US-CERT added. "Exploit code for this vulnerability is also publicly available."
Two spokeswomen for Oracle, the company that distributes Java, weren't immediately available for comment.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is email@example.com.