Playing Minecraft no longer makes your PC a juicy target for hackers


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The folks at Microsoft-owned Mojang just gave PC users one more reason to uninstall Java from their systems. The Minecraft launcher for PC now installs and manages its own instance of Oracle’s software. The version of Java the new Minecraft launcher uses is contained within the game’s directory—meaning you no longer need a system-wide version of Java installed on your PC to play the game.

Why this matters: Java has a reputation for opening enormous security holes in PCs and security experts have long advised us to dump Java unless it was absolutely necessary to keep it. In January, security firm Secunia ApS issued a report that said Java was the single biggest security risk for American PC users. That same month Oracle released a quarterly security update that patched 19 vulnerabilities in Java, fourteen of which could be exploited from a webpage. Removing the system-wide version of Java and replacing it with a version that only executes when Minecraft is running dramatically reduces your system’s security risk.

Windows PCs only for now

At the moment, the self-installed version of Java with Minecraft is only available for Windows users. A new launcher is apparently in the works for OS X users too.

While the new change is good news for longtime Minecraft users, you’ll have to take a few extra steps before uninstalling Java via the Control Panel. The problem is that older profiles will still default to using the system-wide version of Java, but with a few tweaks you can put an end to that.

We won’t get into that process here, but How-To Geek—which first reported on the Minecraft change—has everything you need to know. The site also has some performance comparisons between the system-wide and Minecraft-contained versions of Java.

Once you’ve done away with Java why not consider dumping other security-challenged software from your PC like Adobe’s Reader and Flash?

[via Engadget]

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