What it is: Java and Flash are browser plug-ins that run on multiple platforms and browsers.
Back in the early days of the Internet, web sites displayed static text and pictures. The problem with these early web sites was that they were boring. To make web pages interactive, various companies offered plug-ins that were essentially additional programs you needed to download and install on your own computer. these plug-ins would work with your browser to provide interactivity to a web page.
Such interactivity would let you play games or chat in forums. Unfortunately two problems quickly occurred. First, more companies started creating their own plug-ins so people wound up downloading and constantly installing another plug-in. Second and more seriously, hackers started targeting plug-ins as a weak link to get past the security of a computer.
Eventually companies settled on Java and Flash as the most commonly used plug-ins, which meant that hackers also settled on Java and Flash as the most easily exploited plug-ins to break into any computer. Oracle and Adobe (the makers of Java and Flash respectively) kept trying to come up with updates to Java and Flash to close security vulnerabilities, but that practically meant installing new updates every other day.
Oracle in particular has a problem with Java in that newer versions of Java fixed flaws but left older versions of the Java run-time file on a computer. That meant hackers could still exploit the flaws in that older version of Java despite any updates you may have installed.
Since browser plug-ins are fading away and a new standard called HTML5 provides interactivity without the need for plug-ins, fewer web sites require or use Java or Flash any more. Yet you’ll still find far too many web sites still relying on these ancient technologies.
Still if you want to increase the security of your computer and you don’t need to rely on Java or Flash for accessing a critical web site, then you might be able to make your computer more secure and clear out necessary programs from your hard disk by removing both Java and Flash from your computer.
Once you remove both Java and Flash, visit your favorite web sites and see if you notice any problems. Flash is often used for displaying video and Java is often used for interactivity. If you find a web site that doesn’t work that you absolutely must keep using, then simply reinstall Java or Flash all over again.
Chances are good you don’t need Java or Flash, but if you do, it’s easy to reinstall it. As a general rule, you don’t want Java or Flash because it gobbles up disk space unnecessarily and creates a gaping security hole in your computer. Get rid of Java and Flash today. Your computer’s security will thank you for it.