Oracle is planning to kill an attacker's favorite: the Java browser plug-in

The browser plug-in will be retired in Java 9, but older versions will likely linger on for years

Oracle will retire the Java browser plug-in, frequently the target of Web-based exploits, about a year from now. Remnants, however, will likely linger long after that.

"Oracle plans to deprecate the Java browser plugin in JDK 9," the Java Platform Group said in a blog post Wednesday. "This technology will be removed from the Oracle JDK and JRE in a future Java SE release."

The Java Development Kit (JDK) 9, the reference implementation for the next version of Java SE, is expected to reach general availability in March 2017. By then, however, most modern browsers will no longer accept the Java browser plug-in anyway.

Mozilla announced in October that it plans to remove support for plug-ins in Firefox by the end of 2016. Chrome disabled support in September for plug-ins that, like Java and Silverlight, use the old Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) standard. Microsoft's Edge browser doesn't support plug-ins either.

With Internet Explorer and Safari the only browsers set to still accept traditional NPAPI plug-ins after 2016, Oracle is pretty much forced into this decision, even though Chrome does support a new plug-in technology called PPAPI (Pepper Plug-in API).

"Oracle does not plan to provide additional browser-specific plugins as such plugins would require application developers to write browser-specific applets for each browser they wish to support," the company said in a white paper that outlines migration options for developers. "Moreover, without a cross-browser API, Oracle would only be able to offer a subset of the required functionality, different from one browser to the next, impacting both application developers and users."

The main alternative proposed by the company is to switch from Java Applets to Java Web Start applications. This type of application can be launched from the Web without the need for a browser plug-in.

From a security perspective though, Java Web Start applications can be used as an attack vector for exploiting vulnerabilities in the Java runtime, just like Applets.

Even after the Java plug-in is retired, it's likely that many computers will continue to have it installed for years to come. This is especially true in business environments where custom built Web-based Java applications are common and cannot be easily replaced or rewritten.

Even now, for application compatibility reasons, there's a large number of computers in business environments that continue to use Java 6 or Java 7, versions that no longer receive public security updates.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?