You may not realize this but one of the easiest ways to protect your computers from hackers is to turn off Java, software that runs interactive functions on web pages. Java has developed the reputation for being a backdoor for hackers to get into your system, for example Business Insider recently pointed to the 700,000 Apple computers that were infected earlier this year with the Flashback Trojan malware. These computers were all running an out-of-date add on that permitted their browser to run Java.
Hackers recently discovered a defect in Oracle’s Java software that permitted these cyber criminals to break into users’ computers and install malware. Back then, the threat was considered a “zero-day” one, meaning a threat that exploits a vulnerability that wasn’t previously known and for which no fix can be obtained. Since the security hole was discovered, Oracle introduced a new version of Java that the developer says fixes the vulnerability. But the truth remains: Hackers regularly use Java to break into users’ computers. Turning it off, then, makes the most sense, especially since Java is no longer required for the vast majority of websites.
Turning off Java
Turning off Java requires different steps depending upon what web browser you use. In Firefox users must first select “tools” from their browser’s main menu. They should then click “add-ons” and the disable buttons next to any Java plug-ins.
Safari users must first click “Safari” in the main menu bar and then “Preferences.” Once they’ve done this, they can select the “security” tab and make sure that the button next to “enable Java” is not checked.
Google Chrome users need to type “Chrome://Plugins” in their browser’s address bar. They can then click the “disable” button listed below any Java plug-ins.