Very soon Internet Explorer users may run into some trouble accessing certain websites. Java is a web page technology developed by Microsoft for use with Internet Explorer that allows developers to create richer interactive web applications. Like all software, new versions come out, support ends for older versions, and life goes on. In an effort to make browsing the internet a little more secure Internet Explorer 8 and above will start blocking older registered Java controls based on the version of Java it is using. Microsoft is not going whole hog and blocking all old Java components, just ones using Sun Java controls older than a certain version. This improved security feature has already been installed if your Windows updates for August have been applied and will go into effect on patch Tuesday September 9th.
Microsoft has a very good reason for doing this. Java exploits account for over 80% of the vulnerabilities targeted by hackers based on the articles I have read on the subject and the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. Fear not! You can disable this feature, I wouldn’t recommend it though. When you are using one of the outdated versions of Java you will see a message either at the top or bottom or the browser window, depending on the version of IE you are using, that gives you the option to update your Java or just run it. If one of your application vendors is forcing you to use a specific, blocked version of the Java software then you need to have a long discussion with them about getting their application updated. If not, just update your Java version when it pops up and you will have no problem dealing with this new feature.
Make sure your employees are aware of the new functionality and the pop-up notifications they may see so they are not caught off guard on September 9th. If you have a reason to continue using the out-of-date Java versions talk to your IT admin or consultant about turning this feature off across your business or adding exceptions for only the application URLs that require the out-of-date version until the web application is updated to support new versions of Java.