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Apple security update locks Java out of OS X

31 Jan 2013
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Apple has reissued a security exception which disables Java on OS X systems.

Users have highlighted the issue on Apple's support forums, reporting that the Xprotect security component within the Mac operating system has adjusted which versions of Java it regarded as secure - and therefore were able to run on the OS.

According to those reports, Xprotect will only allow Java version and later versions of Java to run. As noted by Apple news site MacGeneration, the latest available version of Java for Mac OS users is - so effectively Java is blocked.

The move marks the second time this month that Apple has blocked users from running Java on OS X. Earlier in the month the company updated Xprotect to block off Java for a short time before the release of an updated version.

Apple has yet to give word on when an updated version of Java would be available.

Oracle has been scrambling throughout the month to address reports of zero-day vulnerabilities in Java. Attackers have been targeting the flaws to covertly infect users with malware files.

Apple is far from the only party to advocate disabling Java. Several security experts have advised users and administrators to disable Java whenever possible, while others have called on Oracle to overhaul its security practices to rein in vulnerabilities.

Though the platform is nearly ubiquitous, experts have noted that for many systems, Java is a rarely used component which can be disabled with minimal disruption to user activity.

According to a 2012 study from Kaspersky Lab, Java is the most popular target for online attacks, ahead Adobe Acrobat Reader and Microsoft Windows.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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