In most cases, Java applications will work with any version of the software. It's just that no one has time to test it. If you're running apps that don't play well with the newest versions of Java, they probably need fixing ASAP.
To get started in purging old versions of Java from your systems, you can check which versions you have installed and where using any software inventory program or patch checker. My favorite software patch checks are Secunia's CSI, PSI, and OSI programs. You can also simply check Add/Remove Programs in Windows (or Programs/Uninstall a Program in Windows Vista/Server 2008 and later). For more guidance, check out Microsoft Principal Consultant Aaron Margosis's recent blog entry about Java.
IT shops should make a Java (legacy version) eradication program a top priority. While you're at it, look for duplicate, older versions of Adobe Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Those two other apps round out the top 10 client-side successful exploits. Want good bang for your buck? You got it.
This story, "Old Java versions breed new security exploits," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Keep up on the latest developments in network security and read more of Roger Grimes's Security Adviser blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.