Warning: Java Vulnerability

Quick alert You may have seen it in the news: in a highly unusual move, the Department of Homeland Security is warning about a vulnerability in Java.

What is Java, and what does this mean for you? Java is a programming language that, among other things, allows web pages to do fancy stuff they can't do otherwise. It's very widely used on both Macs and Windows PC's within the browser (Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome) for everything from online banking to web-based education.

There's no fix yet for the issue, although Oracle, the makers of Java, are apparently planning to issue a "patch" (an update to fix the problem) on Tuesday. Some software makers (like Mozilla, makers of Firefox)  have been disabling Java remotely--they may have turned it off on your machine to protect you, IF your software is updated.  Apple users are more likely to be safe, but there are no guarantees.

What should you do? If you update Java on your computer and you have the latest version, you can disable it for your whole computer. If not, you can either uninstall it completely (which means reinstalling it if you need it for a legitimate website later on), or disable it in the browser(s) you use. Instructions here for PC users. Apple folk, run your software updates (which you should be doing regularly anyway!).

We'll keep you updated after Tuesday when the patch is released.