October 20, 2012
Apple Removes Java, Possibly Over Security Concerns
April Flowers for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Previously, Apple has included Java with installations of Mac OS X. The announcement, given on the company´s technical support website, said that if customers need Java from this point forward, they will have to obtain it directly from Oracle. For the majority of users, however, the change will go mostly unnoticed.
Apple did not give a reason for this change. Oracle also declined to comment.
Java is a computer language that makes it possible for programmers to write one set of code to run on nearly every type of machine. Widely used on the Internet, Java makes it possible for designers to create sites that are accessible by multiple browsers running on Macs or PCs.
Oracle and Apple announced two years ago they had reached an agreement where Apple would stop providing Java software to Mac customers at some point in the future, and that Oracle would take on that responsibility. Neither company provided a date for that transition.
Ars Technica recently reported that Apple pushed out a security update prior to this announcement that automatically turns Java off if it hasn´t been used recently.
The current change comes in the wake of a Java security scare that prompted some security experts to warn computer users to only use Java on an as-needed basis. Many technical experts and blogs are suggesting that users who do not need Java on a regular basis should disable or uninstall it all together, as this would mitigate the risk of infection from malicious applets.
In late August, security experts in Europe discovered the Java bugs that hackers had been exploiting to launch attacks, prompting Oracle to release an update to Java to correct the flaws. That update took several days.
Security expects have found more exploitable Java bugs since the update that continue to make computers vulnerable. Adam Gowdiak, a researcher with Security Explorations, says removing Java from Mac browsers reduces the risks.
Java has emerged as one of the most widely exploited software packages over the last five years due to its wide availability on computers running Windows, OS X and Linux.