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10/27/2010
12:28 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
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Is Java Putting Your SMB At Risk?

Java exploits are on the rise, and sharply so, exceeding PDF attacks by a factor of 60 to 1, according to Microsoft. Is it time to cut off Java in your workplace?

Java exploits are on the rise, and sharply so, exceeding PDF attacks by a factor of 60 to 1, according to Microsoft. Is it time to cut off Java in your workplace?There's an unavoidable, I think, progression in the growth of attacks against Java.

That progression, as pointed out in a recent Microsoft security blog, has steepened dramatically over the past couple of years, with the quarter just ended showing -- according to Microsoft -- more than 6 million attacks aimed at Java, compared to around 100,000 targeting PDF vulnerabilities.

The reason for the growth? Java -- and its vulnerabilities -- may not be as obvious even to security-savvy businesses as browsers, applications and other common attack targets. This is a dilemma with anything that runs in the background, but Java's popularity makes Java a bigger dilemma.

As a result -- along with other factors including the number of Java versions out there -- the number of unpatched Java holes remains higher than the number (still too high) of unpatched or not-upgraded higher profile programs.

Which begs the question, in some ways.

While you should take an inventory of your business's Java deployments, and take steps to ensure that every version in your system is the latest version, you should also ask yourself:

Just how much Java does the business really need?

What business purposes are served by providing employees Java-enabled platforms?

If you can't come up with a good answer to that one, your Java audit should also include a Java-disabled audit.

Of course, if you're running a Mac-based business, Java and its vulnerability issues is increasingly irrelavent.

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