The Java Menace, Cont.

java_medium.jpgAs I mentioned two days ago, tech people I take seriously are themselves taking seriously the threat of computers being hacked through a vulnerability in Java code. For the record, some updated info:

  • The Department of Homeland Security -- and, yes, it's interesting that they are on this beat -- has issued an update on the problem and possible solutions. It points out that Oracle has released Java 7 Update 11 which according to Oracle addresses the currently known vulnerabilities.

  • But the DHS goes on to make a case for a better-safe-than-sorry approach: 

    "This and previous Java vulnerabilities have been widely targeted by attackers, and new Java vulnerabilities are likely to be discovered. To defend against this and future Java vulnerabilities, consider disabling Java in web browsers until adequate updates are available."

  • Woody Leonhard of InfoWorld has a very useful step-by-step guide to dealing with this Java warning.

  • Several people have written to remind me to point out that Java, a programming language that is the source of the current concern, is not the same as the scripting language called JavaScript. JavaScript does not expose your computer to any of the vulnerabilities Java now creates, and you don't have to remove, disable, or worry about any reference to JavaScript  in your system.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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