Kim Komando: How to deal with Java's security woes
BY KIM KOMANDO
Sunday, February 03, 2013
2/03/13 at 4:09 AM
The weekly - sometimes daily - security scares that occur with the Java programming language are starting to remind me of the old whack-a-mole arcade game.
Researchers or hackers discover a major flaw in Java. Java's developer, Oracle, whacks it with a patch.
When a vulnerable version of Java is active in a Web browser, visiting a compromised website is all it takes for crooks to sneak malware on to your computer.
Here's how to stay safe: Stop using Java - or stay on top of the upgrades and use Java a lot more guardedly.
But first: What the heck is Java?
First developed in 1995, Java became ubiquitous almost overnight because it allowed programmers to write one program and use it on Windows, Apple OS X and other operating systems.
Today, Internet browsers use Java for interactive Web content. Computers use it to run useful programs such as the free Office alternative LibreOffice, and Adobe Creative Suite. And Java is pre-installed on most new systems.
Java's security holes woke up Apple users last year when more than 600,000 Macs became infected with the Flashback malware that targeted Java.
The Department of Homeland Security a couple of weeks ago recommended that all Internet users disable Java in their browsers.
The latest version of Java has a one-click button just for that purpose. First, make sure you have the most recent version of Java from Oracle's site. The latest release as of this writing is Version 7 Update 11.
To bring up Java's new security settings, go to Start>>Computer and type "Javacpl.exe" in the search bar. If it doesn't appear, you may have to find it manually. Go to Start>>Computer and open your Local Disk (C:). Go to Program Files (x86)>>Java>>jre7>>bin and scroll down until you see "javacpl.exe". On 32-bit computers, the file is in Program Files>>Java>jre7>>bin.
Run javacpl.exe to load Java's control panel and select the Security tab. Uncheck the box that says "Enable Java content in the browser." Then restart any browsers you have running.
Mac users can find the setting by going to System Preferences and clicking on the Java icon.
This will disable Java in your browser but still let you use it for desktop programs.
Original Print Headline: How to deal with Java's security woes
Kim Komando hosts the nation's largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Listen to her show from 1-4 p.m. each Sunday on KRMG am740 or fm102.3. To receive her newsletters, go to tulsaworld.com/komandonewsletters.