Biology Information Technology Services

From time to time, you might need some help with your system. That’s what we’re here for!
If you have computer questions please call BITS at 845-7751, or you can email us at help@bio.tamu.edu

Please check back frequently for updates, information, and useful troubleshooting steps.

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FLASH & JAVA

How to Make Sure That You Have the Correct Version of Java and Flash

Adobe’s Flash Player (hereafter called Flash) and Oracle’s Java Runtime Environment (hereafter called Java) are two frequently updated items that you need to keep up to date on your system. An out of date version of either of these can result in unwanted software installing itself on your system.

As a result of this potential for exploitation, there are a lot of websites that have pop-ups claiming that visitors have outdated versions of these programs and, after a simple click on the box, the current version will be installed. Don’t do this! It will, at the very least, give a false sense of security – that the system now has the current version and is safe, when it almost certainly does not. At the worst, the system is now host to a lot of nasty items that may include annoying pop-ups, things that slow the system down, web search hijackings, changes in home pages, items that compromise the security of the system and, in extreme cases, things that encrypt all of the data on the system, rendering that data inaccessible.

If you have doubts about the version of Java or Flash that you have installed on your system (or are concerned that they are not working properly), Oracle and Adobe have on-line resources for verifying the software’s presence, proper installation and version.

Other notes:

  • Flash updates are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month, but frequently happen at other times. The best bet is to have your system configured to update Flash automatically.
  • All departmental systems have been configured to have the updates for Flash automatically updated. If your system is not updating Flash regularly, send an email to BITS immediately.
  • The current version of Flash is 21.0.0.187 (released 10 March 2016). Older versions should not be present on any computer. Texas A&M University policies forbid older versions of Flash from being used on any university-owned networked computer.
  • Java updates are scheduled for the Tuesday nearest the 17th in January, April, July and October. Unscheduled updates will also happen when security concerns make them necessary.
  • Oracle has announced that it will be discontinuing the web browser plug-in component of Java when Java 9 ships (anticipated release in 2017).
  • The current version of Java is Java 8, update 77 (released 23 March 2016). Java 7 (replaced by Java 8 in October 2014, support ended July 2015), Java 6 (support ended April 2013) and earlier versions should not be used on a networked computer. Texas A&M University policies forbid the use of older versions of Java on any university-owned networked computer.