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Install or Not To Install: Java Updates

I remember when the trojan variant for Mac unleashed alot of terror a while back and Antivirus companies got on the bandwagon to promote their products for Apple Macs, an additional precaution was to disable java from web browsers, as well from “OS X” itself.
One of my software updates recently which i decided to decline (assuming it will come back in the next round of updates, where if needed I can accept) was a java update for Mac OS X 10.6 etc etc (i’m running snow leopard)
Was i wrong to decline this update and what is the best thing to do with java regarding web browsers and the OS.

Comments: 4 Responses to “Install or Not To Install: Java Updates”

    11 years ago

    There is no clear right answer. Everything you use and do on your computer carries some sort of risk. The safest way to use your computer is to not install any software and not connect to the Internet in any way at all. Of course that isn't reasonable. The least safest way to use your computer is to install everything you see and visit every web site. Not reasonable either.
    So you have to make choices. Obviously many pieces of software and many sites carry a very low risk. Others carry a slightly higher risk or mean that you will need to be more careful in the future.
    Java is one of those things. Because it is a complete application environment in and of itself, developers can make software in Java that does almost anything. And that includes some great software and services. But it also means that it has been used maliciously in the past. The same can be said of Flash, or even something you may not consider, Microsoft Word (it has a Macro programming language that has been abused as a way to convert cross-platform malware in the past).
    But if you stay away from Java, Flash, Word and other things then your computer is that much less useful.
    So it is something you need to weigh. Perhaps you want to take the step of allowing Java on your Mac, but turning off web-based Java apps in the Safari preferences. I do this because it is very easy to turn it on again. Therefore I get Java on my Mac to run Java-based applications (and parts of non-Java apps that use Java -- very common). But I am a little more secure while online.
    Of course the main thing I do is follow the three steps I have outlined here:
    But I do want to point out one other thing: I am talking about whether to install Java or not. But once you have Java installed, you should definitely keep it updated. You greatly increase the danger of something bad happening if you are running an out-of-date version of Java. It would be like buying a new car, and then ignoring the important safety recall.

    11 years ago

    Thank you for the comprehensive answer, I think to be always cautious is best, it was just I remembered someone telling me to disable java in any web browser that I used, because java isnt needed - his words not mine. As if I remember correctly the Trojan that was discovered was a java based Trojan. Everyone started saying you see Mac do get viruses, as far as i'm aware a trojan is not a virus, but is a form of malware.I'm sure to the delight of anti virus companies

    11 years ago

    "..turning off web-based Java apps in the Safari preferences"....sorry Gary - which options to be checked or unchecked ?

      11 years ago

      Safari, Preferences, Security, "Enable Java." Turn that off if you like.
      Note that you should leave "Enable JavaScript" turned on. Java and JavaScript are two very different things.

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