Oracle urges removal of older Java versions due to security risks

Latest Java update holds new features, fixes, and performance improvements

Oracle, in making Java Platform, Standard Edition (SE) 7 the default runtime environment for Java this week, is emphasizing that older versions of Java be removed for security purposes.

The company recommends updating to the latest version of Java, which contains the most recent features, fixes, and performance improvements. Along with that, older versions should be removed. "Keeping old and unsupported versions of Java on your system presents a serious security risk," Oracle said on "Removing older versions of Java from your system ensures that Java applications will run with the most up-to-date security and performance improvements on your system."

[ Also on InfoWorld: Last week, Oracle released Java SE 7 Update 4 and JavaFX 2.1, including a Java Development Kit and JavaFX Software Development Kit for Mac OS X. | For more on Java, subscribe to InfoWorld's Enterprise Java newsletter. ]

Oracle offers instructions for removing older versions. Java, however, has been under fire lately in the security realm, with a Java-borne Trojan, called Flashback, affecting Apple Macs.

Java SE 7 was released last July, constituting the first major update to the programming language in five years. It features improved support for non-Java languages on the Java Virtual Machine, as well as an API for multicore processor support.

Java 7 is available to consumers on The company will begin upgrading its user base to Java 7, with upgrades to be automatic over the next several months. Consumers also can go to to check which version they currently use. Java, Oracle said, is on 97 percent of enterprise desktops and there are 1 billion Java downloads each year. More than 3 billion devices are powered by Java technology. Oracle became the steward of Java when it bought Java creator Sun Microsystems in early 2010.

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