Last year, the Cupertino, Calif. company halted development on the OS X version of Java, and said it was handing the job off to Oracle. Lion, the version of OS X that launched in July 2011, was the first that did not include Java; users had to download and install the software themselves.
Oracle will be responsible for development, maintenance and the updates for Java for OS X as of Java SE 7 and later. Next month's OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion, will follow in Lion's footsteps, and not bundle Java.
As an additional defense, Apple in April issued an OS X update that disabled automatic execution of Java applets in the Java browser plug-in, and deactivated the Oracle software entirely if it had not been used in the past 35 days.
Monday's update upped the Java exclusion even more: It also prevented Java that "do[es] not meet the criteria for minimum safe version" from running at all. Apple did not specify which versions were affected, but in its advisory added, "The minimum safe version of Java is updated daily, as needed," hinting that the software pegged as out-of-date would change as time goes on.
Apple made a similar move in May when it began blocking older versions of Adobe's Flash Player plug-in from executing in the Safari browser.
Snow Leopard users -- as well as those running Lion who have earlier installed Java -- will be notified of the patches automatically by the operating system's update tool.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
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