Bug could threaten your computer's security

Published On: Jan 15 2013 11:21:18 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 16 2013 11:43:33 AM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

A bug on an application used on just about every computer could leave users vulnerable to hackers.

Java is a program that allows programs to be used across a range of operating systems and is found on PC's, Macs, and smart phones.

This weekend, a bug was discovered that could allow hackers to get access to a person's system. That would include access to any personal information on a computer, and websites a person visits.

But the only way hackers can get access is if a person essentially allows it. "This isn't something where someone from the outside can just attack their system and get in, this takes user intervention, so I'd like to stress specifically that users monitor their browsing habits, they monitor what they click on and where they go," said UW-La Crosse's Information Security Officer Jim Treu.

Homeland Security suggests people turn off Java until the bug is completely fixed. But for places like UW-La Crosse, that's not a possibility.

Instead they are constantly educating the thousands of users and checking their own system. "Once a month, we have what we call a maintanence window, that's when we sweep our system, we make sure we have the latest updates and upgrades and we do our security settings, or penetration test as we call it," said UW-L's Chief Information Officer Dr. Mohamed Elhindi.

Security experts say beyond safe browsing habits, it's important to make sure your system and security features are always up to date.