Sun Microsystems has issued a critical security patch to address vulnerabilities in Sun’s Java Runtime Environment when it processes graphics interchange format, or GIF, images.

The security flaws could allow an attacker to gain control of a user’s system via an untrusted Java applet, which in turn could allow attackers to grant themselves permission to read and write local files or execute applications on the user’s computer, according to an advisory issued by Secunia on Wednesday.

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