* DHS says only run Java in browser if absolutely necessary
* Warning comes day after Oracle releases security update
* Web version of Java has long had security bugs - experts
By Jim Finkle
Jan 14 The U.S. Department of Homeland Security
warned that a security update of Oracle Corp's Java
software for Web browsers does not do enough to protect
computers from attack, sticking to its previous advice that the
program be disabled.
"Unless it is absolutely necessary to run Java in web
browsers, disable it," the Department of Homeland Security's
Computer Emergency Readiness Team said on Monday in a posting on
The software maker released an update to Java on Sunday,
just days after the government issued its initial warning on the
software, saying that bugs in the program were being exploited
to commit identity theft and other crimes.
Security experts have warned that PCs running Java in their
browsers could be attacked by criminals seeking to steal
credit-card numbers, banking credentials, passwords and commit
other types of computer crimes.
The Java software platform, created in the mid-1990s,
enables developers to write one set of code that will run on PCs
running on Microsoft Corp's Windows, Apple Inc
Macs and servers running on the Linux operating system.
Security experts say the bugs only affect one part of the
platform - software that plugs into Internet browsers.
While some researchers have long complained the software was
buggy, it started generating more public scrutiny last year
after a security scare in August..
"It's not like Java got insecure all of a sudden. It's been
insecure for years," said Charlie Miller, a computer engineer
with Twitter who has previously worked as a security consultant
to Fortune 500 firms and as an analyst with the National
Java was responsible for 50 percent of all cyber attacks
last year in which hackers broke into computers by exploiting
software bugs, according to Kaspersky Lab.
Public interest in the issue surged last week as the
Department of Homeland Security advised the general public to
stop using Java and consumers turned for information on how to
implement the agency's advice.
To disable Java on a Windows PC, go to the machine's Control
Panel. Open the Java icon, click on the Security panel and
uncheck the box for "enable Java content in the browser."
Further information is available from Oracle on its Java
Oracle's shares were little changed, up 13 cents at $34.99.