Computers affected without warning via Java hack

Both PC and Apple Mac users are being warned about a major security vulnerability in the latest version of Java. The 'Zero-Day' hack circulating via browser-based Java software has already hit Windows and is a serious danger to Apple Mac users running Mountain Lion OS X. Java is one of the most popular programming languages, with the benefit to end users of making websites more interactive.

A 'Zero-Day' attack is a hack to a previously unknown app vulnerability, meaning it causes the damage the first day it is found. This one aims to fool users into visiting a website filled with malicious code. When the user visits that website, the infected applet downloads itself on to the clean computer.

Java 7 (the latest Java update) has seen stable performance, but security experts have warned over the last year that it is vulnerable to innumerable exploits. Oracle has consistently updated critical patches to fix security bugs, with the last update two months ago fixing 14 dangerous vulnerabilities.

In order to protect yourself immediately, security businesses and anti-virus developers recommend disabling all of your Java plug-ins and erasing Java 7 from your computer. Alternatively, disabling Java to install applets from untrusted sources may be sufficient.

For Get Safe Online's information and advice about protecting yourself from viruses and spyware, click here.

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