A Little Java in the Morning?

This article was sent to me by a friend recently:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is advising people to temporarily disable the Java software on their computers to avoid potential hacking attacks.

The recommendation came in an advisory issued late Thursday, following up on concerns raised by computer security experts.

Experts believe hackers have found a flaw in Java’s coding that creates an opening for criminal activity and other high-tech mischief.

Java is a widely used technical language that allows computer programmers to write a wide variety of Internet applications and other software programs that can run on just about any computer’s operating system.

Oracle Corp. bought Java as part of a $7.3 billion acquisition of the software’s creator, Sun Microsystems, in 2010.

Oracle, which is based in Redwood Shores, Calif., had no immediate comment late Friday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

I did a bit of research and came up with this article:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/08/critical-java-exploit-spreads/

Thing is that this article is from August 2012.  Is there still a problem?  A new one?

Some further digging prompted the idea that there was a problem just last week, but may be fixed as stated in this article:

http://techland.time.com/2013/01/14/oracle-says-java-patch-fixes-security-problem/

All well and fine.  But, what is Java?  Why do we care?

http://www.java.com/en/download/faq/whatis_java.xml

Put very simply, Java is a small amount of programming that is used by games, mobile phones, and other devices (to the tune of about 850 million computers) to make them run better.  For us, a lot of it is used in your browser (Foxfire, Netscape, etc…).  The problem is that this vulnerability may allow a hacker to get into your computer and steal information.  One way they do this is by putting a small bit of malware (a bad program) in your computer that runs and can monitor emails, passwords, and other pieces of info.  It could also allow them to simply have your computer’s hard drive be ruined (empty of useable info) next time you reboot.  Hundreds or thousands of possibilities for a good hacker to disable your computer and/or steal your life.

My understanding is that, right now, they haven’t fixed it.  I went to “Control Panel” on my computer and simply uninstalled Java until they fix it.  That may stop some of my programs from working or working well.  So be it.  If the patches they have created will fix it, I will put them on and reinstall it.

I put this out there just so you would have a heads up.  Do with this info as you will.  But, know this, just because you ignore or don’t understand a problem, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

Latest note:  I was still looking and it appears that you can go here and get the latest “fixed” version of Java.  This is them talking, not me.  I loaded it.  But, I am not guaranteeing anything. 🙂

http://java.com/en/download/index.jsp

Namaste,

Scott

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