FORTUNE -- "Java's not worth building in," Steve Jobs told the New York Times' John Markoff in 2007. "Nobody uses Java anymore. It's this big heavyweight ball and chain."
On Tuesday, with foreign hacker attacks on U.S. institutions making headline news, the company acknowledged that some of its employees' Macs had also been breached. The culprit: Malware exploiting a known vulnerability in the Java plug-in for Apple Web browsers.
Like Adobe's (ADBE) Flash, another programming environment that Steve Jobs hated, Java plug-ins have long been a rich target of opportunity for malicious hackers. No matter how air-tight a computer's operating system, it can't close all the holes in a third-party add-on.
That's why Apple in 2010 started shipping computers without Java plug-ins installed. If users wanted to expose themselves to those vulnerabilities, they would have to actively seek out the necessary plug-in and turn it on. As a further security measure, the latest version of OS X disables the plug-ins if they haven't been used in 35 days.
By 8 p.m. Tuesday, Apple had released a software update that removes the offending code. To run Java applets on a Web page, users who update will have to click on a "Missing plug-in" button and download the latest version from Oracle.
Apple told journalists that it only a small number of its in-house systems were infected and that there was no evidence that any data left its headquarters.
According to Bloomberg, FBI and Secret Service experts have traced the attack -- which affected as many as 40 U.S. companies -- to an Eastern European website that caters to developers.
After a series of Java security updates, Apple quietly releases an (invisible) removal tool
In a perfect world, there would be no computer viruses, worms or trojan horses -- and for most of Mac OS X's first 10 years it was blessedly malware-free.
In the world as we would like it, Apple (AAPL) would have used that decade-long grace period to prepare for the day when its flagship operating system got hit -- as MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 14, 2012 11:41 AM ET
Having written several times -- and taken a lot of heat from PC users -- about the relative security of Apple's (AAPL) operating systems (See Why are there no Mac viruses), I feel obliged to report that Mac OS X is under what appears to be the most serious malware attack to date.
According to a report posted MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 5, 2012 8:08 AM ET
Ranked by Internet market share -- rather than unit sales -- Google is now No. 3
From the perspective of NetApplications, which has been measuring browser usage data since 2004 (currently monitoring the activity of 160 million users on 40,000 sites):
Apple's (AAPL) iOS is the still reigning champion of the World Wide Web among mobile operating systems (including tablets)
Google's (GOOG) Android made a strong showing in 2011 but has started to MORE
Every day, the Fortune staff spends hours poring over tech stories, posts, and reviews from all over the Web to keep tabs on the companies that matter. We've assembled the day's most newsworthy bits below.
Reports are surfacing that Yahoo's upper management must cut between 10% and 20% of its 14,100-strong staff. Yahoo says via an official statement the reports are "misleading and inaccurate," but outlets like TechCrunch are sticking by their MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 12, 2010 7:40 AM ET
James Gosling, who is often called the Father of Java, has been chiming in on the recent litigation between Oracle and Google.
There are some alternative narratives that are noteworthy in Gosling's recent blog posts. Namely that Google's Android project was started as more of a defense against Apple (AAPL) rather than a new revenue opportunity for Google (GOOG). He recalled meetings with Google when the two companies were discussing MORESeth Weintraub - Aug 17, 2010 5:18 PM ET
According to recent surveys, more large companies are committing to open-source software. How the platform went from closet to corporate.
By Kit R. Roane, contributor
There was a time when open-source software was the domain of computer geeks and do-it-yourselfers with more time than money. But, as Oracle's legal salvo against Google highlighted last week, those days are long gone.
Oracle (ORCL), through its purchase of Sun Microsystems, has become one of the MOREAug 16, 2010 12:50 PM ET
Adobe has tipped its hand, and it now seems clear that it needs Apple's iPhone more than Apple (AAPL) needs Adobe's Flash. But it's not at all clear that Adobe (ADBE) will get the foothold on the device it seems to want so badly.
Two weeks ago Adobe turned the other cheek when Steve Jobs' publicly slighted Flash and Flash Lite, describing the first as "too slow to be useful" on MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 19, 2008 5:26 PM ET
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