Java - Known Sites and Applications
Last updated: June 7, 2016
ITS has identified applications and web sites in use at Hamilton that require Java (in total or in part). If you regularly use one of these applications/sites, you should consider how best to manage your exposure to Java. Two possible methods are described in the section below labeled “If you must use Java”.
Applications and web sites that require Java:
The following list is by no means exhaustive. We will update it as new information becomes available. Your contributions to this list are welcomed. Please address them to email@example.com
- Blackboard (only the features listed below require Java)
o Chat & Virtual Classroom tools (located under "Collaboration" in the Tools menu)
o WebEq Math Editor located in the text box editor. The rest of the text box editor is fine.
o Uploading multiple files at once. (Uploading single files and file attachments work fine.)
- GoToMeeting - also from Citrix
- GoToWebinar - again from Citrix
- The Wall Street Journal website, wsj.com, uses Java for dynamic charts
- SciFinder (formerly called SciFinder Scholar. Java is required for structure drawings)
- Stand Alone Apps: Doceri Desktop
BEFORE you continue, visit the following page and make sure that Java is up to date.
If you must visit sites/web applications that require Java, here are two methods to consider using.
NOTE: (The following example is written for Blackboard Learn but the same techniques can be used for other trusted web sites or applications that require Java.)
A. Use a different browser and ONLY use that browser to access Blackboard Learn
If you set Blackboard Learn to your home page in your other browser it will save you time when you need to access it quickly. For example, set up Internet Explorer or Safari for Blackboard and then use Firefox for all your other browsing. The browser you choose for Blackboard Learn will need to have Java enabled so you should not use it for your day-to-day browsing activities. Remember that web searches, surfing, purchasing, social media, etc. are activities that are more likely to take you to web sites that could compromise your computer.
B. Turn Java on only when needed. Then turn it off.
As an alternative, you can continue to use your favorite browser for Blackboard Learn but you'll need to enable the Java plug-in when you want to use the features that require Java. It is vital that you remember to disable it again when you're finished. Failure to disable it will expose your computer to a rapidly growing number of serious threats that take advantage of flaws in Java, Adobe Flash, and Adobe Acrobat.
What is Java ?
Java is three things.
- Firstly, it’s a programming language.
- Secondly, it’s a ’virtual machine’ - a program (’run-time environment’) you can install on any computer (including mobile phones) that can run any programs written in Java. Those programs will be safely ring-fenced (‘sandboxed’) so that nothing they do can affect the working of the rest of your computer.
Most people will find that Java has been installed on their computers whether they were aware of it or not. Java was designed with security in mind, but all software has potential security risks, especially when (like Java) it is running programs written by unknown entities across the web. You should make sure you keep Java regularly updated to minimize the risks.
Newer versions of Firefox will automatically disable outdated Java plugins.
Typically mobile devices (smart phones, tablets) do not have Java installed.