Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Java Patch from Oracle: Close, but No Cigar

When Java technology came on the scene, it revolutionized the online experience. Web surfers came to expect more and more interactive websites and features from the companies they frequented online. It changed the ways companies do business, as well as their marketing strategies.
Yes, Java was quite the phenomenon, but it’s always had one major downfall. Designing security for the technology that actually works has been nothing short of a nightmare. It would seem, in fact, that a reliable security patch is a Java programmer’s elusive unicorn.

Security Woes
OS and browser developers are constantly trying out new technology to make your PC and devices as secure as possible. The latest inventions are more secure than ever before. However, much to the bane of Microsoft and other developers, even their ironclad security measures are meaningless if the PC user makes one ill-fated visit to a site with a Java plug-in.
Lack of security can be problematic for anyone, but particularly for businesses. The last thing a company needs is for a hacker to gain access to their bid management software or accounting programs. As rigid as modern firewalls and security features are, all a company user has to do is run Java and it’s all for naught.

Attempting to Address the Problem
In fairness, it’s not entirely Java’s fault that security has become such a large issue. It’s almost as if the cure has helped to exacerbate the problem. With more sophisticated operating systems and browsers, hackers have been forced to look for the weakest points of a computer in order to gain access. Poor hackers, right?
In any event, Java certainly didn’t ask for all of this new attention. Even so, the fact remains that it’s a major problem. A recent patch released by Oracle helped to stave off a new Amazon email hack campaign, but it hasn’t been completely effective.  Sometimes this can be as difficult as finding the exact 1988 Mustang parts you need for your car.
Oracle typically releases updates on a four-month schedule to try to stay on top of security threats. Perhaps they should consider making that a monthly schedule instead. It seems they’re always right on the pinnacle of developing a secure plug-in, but then the lull updates allows hackers time to discover the vulnerabilities.

Does it Really Matter?
The word on the street is that Java may eventually become obsolete anyway. If this is true, then you can’t blame a company for not wanting to invest money in a product they may eventually lose. On the other hand, if Java could just get a hold of their security problems, perhaps the call to find an acceptable alternative for online interaction wouldn’t have come about in the first place.
What is certain is that Internet users should be extremely cautious when using anything related to Java. Outdated versions are the most vulnerable, but installing updates can also be detrimental if a hacker has access to it. Your best bet is to either uninstall Java altogether or make extensive backups of your data before performing any updates. 

My friend Michelle  is a Content Specialist and Blogger with a passion for the Internet, specifically social media and blogging. She loves how social media connects people across the globe, and appreciates that blogging gives her the opportunity to voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience.

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