Good security advice or not?

  TopCat® 17:32 PM 02 Mar 13
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Reading my latest PC Advisor mag today - issue 214 for May 2013 - I was rather puzzled on page 31 by Andrew Harrison's contribution. In it he advises, on security matters, that we should dispense with Adobe Flash and more especially with Oracle's Java.

As a layman on these matters, I was led to believe that both these add-ons were essential for a better online experience and for viewing enhanced websites and video. Can anyone alleviate my concerns and put me right on this please? I feel sure that others reading his article may have their own reservations as well. TC.

  Quickbeam 17:38 PM 02 Mar 13

All I know is that if a site tells me I have to have either to view something, I click yes to install and give it no more thought!

  Woolwell 17:42 PM 02 Mar 13

There are security concerns about Java. There have been a thread in the helproom about it. There are some sites however that don't work without Java and you can activate it for those sites only. Personally I haven't bothered as I feel that the risk is relatively low.

  N47. 17:49 PM 02 Mar 13

Woolwell

I think you mixing up Java with Javascript.

Java is the potential threat, I have had it uninstalled for quite some months.

Java script is needed to view some sites, though like this site it works quite well without it. You just miss a few tools but gain in the loading of the site and no adds.

  Forum Editor 00:21 AM 04 Mar 13

The first thing to point out is that Java has nothing to do with JavaScript, as N47. points out.

Many people will come across Java in a business environment - it has been widely used to develop specific business applications that run on corporate servers, and in that context (server-side applications) it's perfectly safe. The problems have come from Java that runs client-side via browser plug-ins.

JavaScript is a different kettle of fish, and is used (amongst other things) in website development. In that environment it's as safe as anything else.

Most home users can live quite happily without Java, and I agree with Andrew - my advice is that you uninstall it. You can always add back a clean install later, if you decide that you need to.

Flash is, in my opinion, not as great a problem. It can pose a threat if a site allows users to upload content, and if you use any sites which do that you should be aware that a vulnerability can allow uploaders to execute malicious scripts. If you visit a forum that allows people to upload avatars, for instance, it would be possible for a hacker to upload a Flash file that looked like an avatar but was capable of attacking other users.

You must decide whether or not you are particularly at risk, and act accordingly.

  TopCat® 01:33 AM 04 Mar 13
Answer

Thanks, FE, for setting things straight. TC.

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