Ditching Java might be a good move

As unpatched Java vulnerabilities are frequently taken advantage by exploit kits and users often forget to update Java, F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen says that maybe it’s time to consider doing without it.

“Do not confuse Java with JavaScript: it’s hard to use the web without JavaScript. But JavaScript has nothing to do with Java,” he explains, and shows that the popular BlackHole exploit kit has extreme success in exploiting a recently discovered Java Rhino vulnerability.

The problem with Java is that it has to be regularly updated, but many, many users aren’t even aware of its existence on their computers. Also, until very recently, new versions of Java didn’t automatically uninstall the old ones, which can be still found on systems and taken advantage of.

All in all, you might need Java for only a handful of pages or web applications you usually visit or use, so Hypponen advises leaving Java on your system but removing the Java plugin from the browser you use every day, then using another browser for only these sites and services.

He also points out that a move to Chrome should be considered, as Google’s browser does not only block many Java exploits, but also doesn’t use an Adobe Reader plugin to render PDF files and has a good sandboxing feature.