In a rare warning, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is urging computer users to disable the Java software, citing what it says is a vulnerability in the Oracle’s programming platform.
Apple said it is heeding the advice and has remotely disabled Java for most Mac users.
“Java 7 Update 10 and earlier contain an unspecified vulnerability that can allow a remote, unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code on a vulnerable system,” the Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Team said in a note posted Thursday. “We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem.”
According to Reuters, the vulnerability makes it possible for hackers to install malware that enables them to commit identify-theft crimes or add infected computers to networks that can be used for cyber attacks.
Java is a widely used software that gives computer users access to various Web applications. Users can test whether their machines have Java by going to Oracle’s Java website.
If you need to disable Java from your PC, head to PC Mag, which has a helpful article with instructions on how to turn the software off on your computer.
Most Apple users are already in the clear and don’t have to do anything to keep their computers safe.
The Cupertino, Calif., company has remotely disabled the vulnerable software. Users whose Macs run the Mountain Lion, Lion, Snow Leopard or Leopard operating systems are safe.
Oracle could not be reached for comment.