How to Disable Java in your Web Browser

This is a pretty basic trick that many people probably already know, but in light of recent security problems with Java, it’s also a tip that’s well worth repeating …

By now you have probably heard about a new Java vulnerability that is been actively exploited on the Internet. I do not want to rehash all that has been said, and would like to suggest articles on ZDnet and Securelist for that which should provide you with an overview of the threat. Only that much: only Java 7.x is affected by the vulnerability, while Java 6.x versions are not.

Visit the following website to find out which version of Java, if any, is installed on your computer. Check the version entry on the page to find out which version of Java you have installed. You may not get a reading here if you do not have Java installed, if you are using click to play in the browser, or if you have disabled Java.

test java version

Java 7 version 06 is installed on the computer in the case above.You can alternative check the Java version on this page which also highlights whether your computer is vulnerable to the exploit.

You have several options at your disposal to protect your system from exploits:

  • Uninstall Java. Without doubt the best option if you do not use desktop apps or web apps that require Java
  • Disable Java. This needs to be done in every web browser that you use. More about that later.
  • Enable click to play. If your web browser supports click to play, you can enable the feature to block Java contents from being loaded automatically.
  • Use a security extension like NoScript. NoScript blocks scripts from being executed automatically.
  • Downgrade to Java 6.x

Disabling Java in your web browser

Please note that you may see multiple Java listings, and that it is recommended to disable all that you find.

Google Chrome: Type chrome://plugins in the address bar and hit enter. This displays all plugins that the browser has found on your system. Some may be enabled, others disabled. Locate Java in the listing and click on the Disable link to disable the plugin in the browser. The disable link should turn into Enable, and the background color of the row to gray.

disable java

Mozilla Firefox: Type about:addons in the browser’s address bar and hit enter. Switch to Plugins on the page that opens and locate Java here. Click on the disable button to disable Java in Firefox.

disable java firefox

It should then read (disabled) after the name of the plugin.

Opera: Type opera:plugins in the browser’s address bar and hit enter. Locate Java there and click on the disable links to disable the plugin.

disable java opera

The font color should turn to light gray and the link at the end of each line should read enable.

Internet Explorer: Here you need to change a Registry key. Press Windows-r, type in regedit and hit enter. Now navigate to the Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\Zones\3  and change the value of 1C00 to 0. More about the process here.

Closing Words

Java is installed on a lot of desktop systems even though most regular Internet users do not need the plugin or technology at all for their day to day activities. If you are not sure whether you need Java, I’d suggest to uninstall it and see if you are running into issues opening applications or contents on the Internet. Chance is, you won’t.

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