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Science, Medicine & Tech

#542
Jan12.2013

Homeland Security is telling you to turn off Java

 

While youíre sitting there doing nothing useful (but reading this), pop over to your Control Panel and see if you have a Java icon. If you do, you could be screwed. The bottom line goes here at the top: DISABLE JAVA ON YOUR MACHINE. NOW.

Java is a suite of computer programs that was developed to make it easier for software developers to write software that would operate on any operating system. Because this approach has been so successful, Java is installed in hundred of millions of laptops, desk tops, mobile devices, and even appliances all around the world. Now the world of Java is imploding due to vulnerabilities in the system and repeated hacker attacks. But because Java allows code to run under any environment, malicious code exploiting Java will also run under any environment. This is a hackerís wet-dream come true. See Michael Mimosoís Threat Post article to better understand this.

This is not just your hyper-sensitive, sky-is-falling Auntie Sally talking. It is Uncle Sam who has his knickers in a twist. Normally the US government doesnít get too excited about hacker attacks, but this one is serious enough that all of the alarms are going off.  On Jan10.2013 Homeland Security computer geeks Ė CERT Ė released an alert advising everyone using Java ver. 7 to turn the damn thing off.  This thing is a big, gapping hole, waiting for some Chinese idiots to come crawling through it and right into your computer. According to Ken Presti, your anti-viral program probably isnít going to be much help. Only 19 out of 42 major products can detect malware getting in through Java.

Here is another Homeland Security page telling how to turn Java off. 

And you can go to this Oracle site to be sure it is turned off.  If you get a message saying "Something is wrong. Java is not working." that means what you did is right.

Although the MSM seems to be treating this thing like Jan10 was zero-day for this attacdk, this thing has been simmering for months. According to Anne Saita of the Threat Post,  CERT recommended disabling Java back in August, 2012 as a result of Chinese attacks. Oracle, which puts out Java, has not commented, and a number of articles are flaming Oracle for its typical slow response time to important issues. Basically, Oracle is pissing a lot of people off. Java is the most common way hackers screw with people. Adobe products is the second. The reason these are so popular with hackers is, again, they run on all types of platforms.

Some gurus are advising that unless you know that a website you visit requires Java, and most donít, that you are better off stripping the code from your machine entirely. Unfortunately, itís hard to know. For instance, Iím a patent attorney. The US Patent Office absolutely requires Java if you want to deal with them online, and if you donít deal with them online, you are essentially cooked. If you are in a similar situation where you have to have Java, I suggest dumping Java 7, loading Java 6, and using it only in a browser dedicated to just Java stuff. You can turn off Java on all of your other browsers. Be sure your default browser is set for one that has Java disabled. The reason is that most of these malwares get into your computer when you hit on a link in an Email. These links will open your default browser. So you want to be sure that that browser has Java disabled.

If you want to check your machine, search for a file named "applet.jar" and one named "hi.exe". The best and fastest way I know to search for files on your machine is with a free program called Everything Search Engine. Here.8

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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