I had a couple of clients ask me about whether they should be turning off Java in their computers as has been suggested they do by the Homeland Security announcements this past week. At first the only articles that I saw was the NPR posting and no one else seemed to be talking about it. This weekend shows a torrent of opinions out there suggesting that if you don’t need Java access online business functions you should probably consider turning off Java Scripting in your browsers. If you feel that you could be a target and have critical information that could be compromised then by all means turn this off. Be aware though that this kind of issue is not just associated with Java.
Hackers also use other popular programs for their exploits as well. This is one of the reasons we suggest our CCI Security Suite Software product to insure that your system is always up to date with the latest patches and multiple anti-malware products. The response from Oracle is that the problem only exists with people that have installed the Java Development Kit and that leaves most of us out. But if you are concerned take a look below on how to turn off this feature in your favorite browser.
Type "chrome://plugins" into your address bar. This will bring up a new tab. Find the item on the list that reads just plain "Java" and click below it where it says "Disable" in blue. Restart your browser.
Choose "Safari" and then "Preferences" on the taskbar or hit control and comma simultaneously (⌘-,). Click "Security" on the top row of the new window. Uncheck the box that reads "Enable Java" if checked. Restart your browser.
Internet Explorer 8,9, and 10
Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Manage Add-ons." Go to the left of the window that pops up and in the drop-down box below the heading "Show:" select "All Add-ons." Scroll down the list on the right of the window until you find a subheading under the category "Group" that reads "Oracle America, Inc." Select each item and disable it with the "Disable" button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window. Restart your browser.
Go to the "Tools" menu and select "Add-ons" or hit ctrl, shift, and the letter 'a' simultaneously. Select "Plug-ins" on the left-hand side of the new tab that shows up. Scroll the list on the right-hand side of the screen until you find an item that reads "Java (TM) Platform [somethingsomethingsomething]." Click the "Disable" button on the right. Restart your browser.
And there you go. If you really, really want to, you can uninstall Java entirely as well, though that's not necessary. You can find the official instructions for how to do so on OS X here, on Windows Vista, 7, and XP here, and on Linux (!) here.