Java fixed with update, Apple lets it back on the Mac

If you rely on Java – even if you didn't know you did until Apple stopped it working on the Mac on Friday – you can breathe a sign of relief today as Apple has issued an update to Java, returning it to the Mac.

Due to a security flaw in the latest version of Java – Java 7 Update 11 – Apple had banned Java from running on Macs, leaving users that rely on web services that use Java plugins a little stuck. You might not think that this could affect creative firms much – as we did until part of the Delano soft-proofing environment used by our printers stopped working as normal, two working days before two magazines here at IDG had to be uploaded and approved by our production editors.

Oracle released an update to the Java platform on Friday night. Java 7 Update 13 is available now with a build number of 1.7.0_13-b20.

In its notes about the update, Apple says: "Java updates are available that address a recently identified Java web plug-in vulnerability".

The company adds some advice about running, or rather not running Java on the Mac:

  • To help limit exposure to potential Java web app vulnerabilities, try to follow this best practice:
  • Enable Java in your web browser only when you need to run a Java web app.
  • Confine your web browser only to the websites that need the Java web app. Do not open any other websites.
  • When you are done, disable the Java web plug-in. See How to disable the Java web plug-in in Safari.

It was the second time in two weeks that Apple had blocked Oracle's code from running on Macs.

The threat earlier in January was so serious that the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, part of the US Department of Homeland Security, urged users to disable Java in their webbrowsers.

Java has come under fire as the means by which hackers have been able to gain control of computers. In April 2012 more than 600,000 Macs were reported to have been infected with a Flashback Trojan horse that was being installed on people's computers with the help of Java exploits.

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