There are some sneaky things lurking on the Internet - a lot of them will try to take advantage of security flaws in older versions of Java so it is important to run the updates when they pop up.
Lately, however, there have been some "fakers". You might be surfing a website, maybe even one you have been at before, but - for whatever reason - that site was compromised and is now infected with a "malware dropper" which tries to fool people by popping up a very legitimate-looking warning - letting you know that you need to update your Java and kindly inviting you to "click here" to proceed.
If you happen to fall victim to this ruse - you will be inundated with pop-ups and junk as you have agreed, albeit unwittingly, to install a whole lot of junk onto your computer. This junk or malware will interfere with the operation of your web browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox) - changing your home pages and your default search engines among other things.
Malware infections can lead to more problems the longer you leave it on your system - as it invites more and more junk to join the party. It is important to get the mess cleaned up as soon as you realize there is a problem! And be sure you have up-to-date Antivirus Software as well as Windows Updates. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of an update notification for Java - the best option is to say "no" then go to www.java.com directly and install the latest version from there. Be sure to follow through with the verification process which will assist in removing old versions from your computer as even with the newest version, you will still be at risk if you also have older versions.
If you are unsure about pop-ups and notifications - it is better to ask and be confident that your system is clean and safe, than to ignore it and risk escalating problems that could compromise your privacy and data.
Tamara is an I.T. consultant with itGurl computer services inc. - specializing in work with non-profit organizations and assisting users (at home and at work) to get the most from their technology.