Apple's had its share of security problems this year thanks to Java, but the company is taking one of the final steps towards eliminating the issue. An OS X Java update this week brings the software up to its current iteration, while also removing Apple's own Java applet plug-in from Mac web browsers altogether. Java applets have been a particularly effective way to compromise computers, leading Apple to disable their ability to run automatically as the default behavior on the Mac. After the new update, users trying to run said applets in their browser will receive a notice that the necessary plugin isn't available, and will be directed to Oracle for the proper download.
Another factor that has made the Mac vulnerable to malware like Flashback was the fact that Apple's versions of Java — it has traditionally created its own plugins rather than rely directly on Oracle — have consistently lagged behind Oracle's in terms of security fixes, providing an increased window of opportunity for those looking to wreak havoc on vulnerable systems. That's changing, however, with Oracle announcing earlier this year that it will be supporting Java for OS X directly, updating it simultaneously along with Java for other platforms.
While the update will provide a one-time inconvenience for users, it's no doubt an important step towards making sure that Macs are as safe as they can be when it comes to Java — while also letting Apple get that much closer to washing its hands of the software altogether.