Disable Java: Protect Yourself From Hackers

Want to safeguard your computer from hackers? Slate technology writer Will Oremus has one tip: disable Java. If you do not know, Java is software that runs interactive functions on some webpages. The software has also been roundly criticized for being an open door of sorts to hackers. In a recent story, for example, Business Insider pointed to the 700,000 Apple computers corrupted earlier this year with the Flashback Trojan malware. All of these computers were running out-of-date versions of add-ons that let their web browsers run Java. The best way, then, to protect your computer? Oremus says it’s all about disabling Java.

Security flaw

In an earlier version of Java there was a security flaw that hackers took advantage of. Luckily, Oracle quickly honed in on the issue and fixed it in a recent version, but not before the damage was done. The ongoing issue is that if you still have an old version you might be vulnerable. The best option is to disable it. This is not a big deal as most websites don’t require Java anymore to work.

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.

Don’t touch JavaScript

Here’s a warning, though: Java and Javascript aren’t the same thing. If you mistakenly disable Javascript on your computer, you won’t do anything to protect yourself from hackers. However, you might make it so that the websites you visit no longer work properly.

Posted on: 11.14.12