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October 2012

Java security problems: Is disabling Java the answer?

Vulnerability management is a time consuming, complex process and the recent onslaught of attacks on Java hasn't made it any easier. To recap: In August, security researchers reported that attackers were actively exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities in Java. Oracle – not always the quickest on the draw when it comes to fixing flaws – actually released a patch pretty fast only to have security researchers uncover holes in it. All the Java security problems – and a growing track record of security snafus with the popular programming language -- led to calls from a number of security experts to disable Java. Tod Beardsley, Metasploit engineering manager at Rapid7, says that's simply sound advice. "For the Java browser plug-ins, users should disable Java. Unlike Flash, HTML5 or even PDF, it's not ubiquitous technology on the Web…Disabling unnecessary functionality is always good advice – doing so reduces your attack surface," he says. In the enterprise, however, shutting off Java is easier said than done. A number of common business ...

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