Starting with Chrome version 42, Chrome has disabled the standard way in which browsers support plugins. More info. Mac OS X Apple's Java comes pre-installed with your Mac OS. Java is not pre-installed with Mac OS X versions If you have Java 7 or later versions, you will see a Java icon under System Preferences. Java versions 6 and below are listed in the Java Preferences. If you do not see a Java icon under System Preferences, Java 7 or later versions is not installed. If you are running a Java application in the browser, you will need to also check that Java is enabled in your browser.
For earlier versions of Java, check the Apple Support site. Use the Software Update feature available on the Apple menu to check that you have the most up-to-date version of Apple's Java for your Mac. Oracle highly discourages users from using older versions of Java. Installing old and supported versions of Java on your system presents a serious security risk. Upgrading to the latest version of Java ensures that Java applications will run with the most up-to-date security and performance improvements on your system.
You can confirm that you have the latest version on the verification page. If installing an older version of Java is absolutely required, you must first uninstall the current version. Apple disables the Java plug-in and Webstart applications when the Java update is done using Software Update. Also, if the Java plug-in detects that no applets have been run for an extended period of time it will again disable the Java plug-in.
That strategy involved, among other things, no longer including Java as a part of the system by default, as Apple had done in Mac OS X Java has suffered from serious security vulnerabilities from time to time, and Apple has always been responsible for Java updates on the Mac, and those updates have typically been released at a bit of a delay after they are available to other systems.
By handing sole responsibility for updates of Java 7 and up in the future to Oracle, and by removing Java as a part of the system in Lion and up, Apple increased the security of Mac OS X. Unfortunately, they acted too late, and in February of , a new variant of the Flashback malware appeared that relied on Java vulnerabilities. All users of the versions of Java supplied by Apple were vulnerable. Lion users were safe unless they had installed Java, while all Snow Leopard users were fully vulnerable.
Apple eventually managed to get a Java update out, but not until Flashback had infected more than , Macs and made international headlines. As I mentioned earlier, Java can be a significant security risk.
It has been used a lot recently as a method of installation by malware, such as Flashback, Tibet, Sabpab, Maljava, GetShell and Crisis. Then, in late August of , another vulnerability surfaced and was exploited to install malware on Windows machines and, reportedly, on a few Macs. By not installing Java, or keeping it disabled, you are safe from the majority of the Mac malware that has appeared within , at the time of this writing.
If you have to use Java, or if you just really, really want to, there are two things you need to do. First, if you are using Lion or Mountain Lion, you need to install Java. One way of doing that is by opening any app that relies on Java. The easiest way of doing that is to go to the Utilities folder, which is in the Applications folder, and open the Java Preferences app.
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There are some things you can do to minimize the risks incurred by enabling Java.
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The easiest thing to do is to use a secondary browser for any sites you need to use that require Java. For example, if Safari is your preferred browser, keep Java turned off in Safari, but turn Java on in another browser, like Firefox. Then, use Firefox only for sites that you trust and that require Java.
For all other sites, use Safari. Of course, neither of these options are without flaws.
Why you shouldn’t use Java
Even a trusted site could be hacked. That is not a far-fetched idea; it happens all the time. Better would be to petition the sites you use that require Java to find a way do eliminate their reliance on Java. Java has been slowly falling out of fashion on the web, and with its history of security problems, the sooner it stops being used entirely, the better! On October 15, , Oracle finally fixed a vulnerability in Java that had been there for quite some time.
Even Java 5, which is quite old at this point, contained the vulnerability. The next day, Apple updated their version of Java 6, and yanked out the Java applet plug-in from Safari. If you absolutely must use Java in your web browser at this point, you will probably find it easiest to simply upgrade to Java 7.
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It seems all malware that is reported is gaining access through Java. Now this may seem like a silly question, but is this the only way that malware is gaining access on OS X? Obviously there are other means of getting infected from files, emails, downloads, etc.
I run ClamXAV and scan periodically, and have never turned up anything. Having a fairly good handle on how to stay safe myself, I manage a few people who may not.
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And downloading something and entering their password seems trivial to them. I would just like to be aware of what to look for and whats currently out there; of course one cannot predict the future. I have read the release notes but not getting a clear picture of any security related fixes that may have been done. Any idea if the update affects the above guide and steps you describe? Any chance to uninstall all elements of java should I decide to give up.
See New unpatched Java vulnerability discovered!