HOW  TO  ENABLE  /  DISABLE  JAVA,  JAVASCRIPT,  COOKIES  AND  POP-UPS


These days many website programmers/designers use Javascript, Cookies and Java to perform certain internet and web page tasks using the Safari web browser application, usually to do with special effects and interaction (i.e. online forms and menu-systems), and therefore need Javascript, Cookie and Java functionality switched on.

Javascript is the programming language that makes it possible for you to interact with an online application form and view a special effects slideshow for example. Behind the scenes it also performs calculations and data tasks (i.e. Balances on an Order Form), time and date functions and so on. Cookies are files that are normally used for storing website Preferences (settings) and Username & Password details so that you don't have to type log-in details or set preferences (settings) each time you visit a particular website or web page. Javascript can check if cookie functionality is switched on. Therefore, the two go hand-in-hand. Java is more of a multi-platform, complete, programming language engine (compiler/interpreter of java code) in that it is used by Windows, Mac and Linux programmers to make menus, buttons, databases, games, applets, website interaction functions and much much more.


Sometimes a web page might complain "Cookies are not enabled" or "Javascript is not switched on". Under normal circumstances there is no reason to have Cookies and Javascript functionality switched off - They should both be switched on by default. However. Sometimes a security application may have switched them off for security reasons or a virus may of tricked you to switching them off for bad reasons. Either way, you should investigate why they are switched off, if possible. In this section I will show you how to enable/disable Javascript, Cookies, Java and Pop-Up functionality for certain web browser applications. I will begin with the Safari web browser application.

THE  SAFARI  WEB  BROWSER  APPLICATION

With the Safari web browser application already open begin by clicking on its SAFARI menu and select the PREFERENCES menu-item. Doing so will bring up its Preferences window (Fig 1.1) whereby you then need to click on its SECURITY Tab (mini window).



Fig 1.0  Click on the SAFARI menu and select its PREFERENCES menu-item to continue




Fig 1.1  Tick (Switch ON) the web services you want to use and untick (Switch OFF) those you do NOT want to use

On the SECURITY Tab (above) you will see four main options - ENABLE JAVASCRIPT, BLOCK POP-UP WINDOWS, ALLOW JAVA and ALLOW OTHER PLUG-INS. To switch off (untick) any of these options simply click inside their checkbox (rounded square). So if an option is already ticked (switched on), clicking inside its checkbox (rounded square) will make its tick disappear thereby switching off (unticking) the option and making its checkbox empty. To switch an option back on again, and therefore makes its tick reappear inside its empty checkbox, simply click inside its checkbox again.

When you have finished ticking (switching on) and/or unticking (switching off) one or more of the four main options close down the Preferences window, by clicking on its red eXit (Close) button located in its top-left corner, in order to apply/set your changes. Unlike the Microsoft Windows operating system, with OS X (Mountain Lion) there is no APPLY button or OK button to click on in order to apply/set your changes. With OS X (Mountain Lion) you just need to close the options window, which in this case is the SAFARI Preferences window; that is currently displaying the options of the SECURITY Tab. In some option windows the changes are made immediately, even without closing down its window, but this depends on which application/preferences window you are working with.

If you want to change your Cookie options you will first need to click on the PRIVACY Tab of the Preferences window. If you have since closed down the Preferences window simply open it again, by following the instructions at the beginning of this section, and then click on the PRIVACY Tab. From there you can BLOCK COOKIES - FROM THIRD PARTIES AND ADVERTISERS, BLOCK COOKIES - ALWAYS and BLOCK COOKIES - NEVER. The default (normally used) option is BLOCK COOKIES - FROM THIRD PARTIES AND ADVERTISERS, but you can change this by clicking on the radio (circle/dot) button next to your preferred choice. So if you wanted to use the option BLOCK COOKIES - ALWAYS, for whatever reason(s), you would simply click on the radio (circle/dot) button next to BLOCK COOKIES - ALWAYS.



Fig 1.2  If you want to change a BLOCK COOKIES option simply click on its radio (circle/dot) button




Fig 1.3  The BLOCK COOKIES - ALWAYS option has been selected. Close the SAFARI Preferences window to continue.

Regardless of what option(s) you may or may not of changed; Close down the SAFARI Preferences window, Quit the Safari web browser application and then re-open it to make sure the changes you have just made have taken affect.



Fig 1.4  QUIT the Safari web browser application to make sure your changes have taken affect

At the time of writing this section - March 2013 - OS X (Mountain Lion) has had minor Malware attacks because of Java vulnerabilities/flaws, to the point where certain "so-called" authoritative websites have been scaremongering by stating you need to completely uninstall Java in order to protect OS X (Mountain Lion). This is generally bad advice. Not just because certain applications rely on Java whereby completely uninstalling Java can cause them and OS X (Mountain Lion) to have side-effects, but also because there have been no reports so far that the vulnerabilities/flaws have affected the main, core, parts of Java. So disabling Java from your web browser, at this time, should be adequate enough action to stop Java malware attacks. A Java malware attack, put simply, means that a malware programmer has successfully found a way to insert their bad code into a Java plug-in (web browser add-on/applet) that the Java engine is told to run (launch/execute). Once run the bad code does its nasty deed of damaging your computer, e-mails and/or applications.

To put the just said into perspective though; Both Apple and Oracle (who make Java) have released Java Updates - Here is the Apple Java Update, which can also be downloaded using the SOFTWARE UPDATE menu-item on your computer's APPLE Menu. If you still need to use Java, perhaps because you have applications and/or websites that rely on it, you should download the latest Oracle Java Update after downloading the Apple Java Update - Apple uses its own version of Java, but Oracle always has the latest version. Or put another way, Apple only uses the version of Java it considers "100% Risk Free" whereas the Oracle version might be so up-to-date that it has unknown and/or unforeseen vulnerabilities/flaws inside it. If you don't need Java, because you don't visit websites that need it and you don't have applications installed that need it, you can uninstall it; or at least disable it. Java is slowly becoming useless as website programmers use HTML5 code and JavaScript code, but even these have their own problems; so you may end up disabling everything in the future!!

THE  FIREFOX  WEB  BROWSER  APPLICATION

If you use the Firefox web browser application instead of, or as well as, the Safari web browser application the first step to disabling JavaScript for example is to bring up (display) the FireFox Preferences window. So with the Firefox web browser application already open begin by clicking on its FIREFOX menu and then select its PREFERENCES menu-item to bring up (display) its Preferences window.



Fig 2.0  Click on the FIREFOX menu and select its PREFERENCES menu-item to continue

With the Preferences window displayed the next step is to click on its CONTENT Tab (below) - On this Tab you can disable JavaScript functionality for example by clicking inside the checkbox (rounded square) to the left of the option called ENABLE JAVASCRIPT. This will make the tick disappear thereby switching off (unticking / disabling) the ENABLE JAVASCRIPT option and making its checkbox empty. To enable (switch on / tick) JavaScript functionality again simply click inside the ENABLE JAVASCRIPT checkbox again, therefore making the tick reappear inside its empty checkbox.



Fig 2.1  Click on the CONTENT Tab and then untick the ENABLE JAVASCRIPT option to switch off (disable) JavaScript functionality

When you have finished ticking (switching on) and/or unticking (switching off) one or more of options (i.e. ENABLE JAVASCRIPT and BLOCK POP-UP WINDOWS) close down the Preferences window, by clicking on its red eXit (Close) button located in its top-left corner, in order to apply/set your changes; Just the same as with the Safari Preferences above.

If you want to change your Cookie options you will first need to click on the PRIVACY Tab of the Preferences window. If you have since closed down the Preferences window simply open it again, by following the instructions above (Fig 2.0 onwards), and then click on the PRIVACY Tab. From there you need to make sure the FIREFOX WILL drop-down menu has the USE CUSTOM SETTINGS FOR HISTORY option (menu-item) selected. This will allow you to view and change the storage options associated with Cookies (Cookie files).



Fig 2.2  On the PRIVACY Tab you can view/change Cookies options via the USE CUSTOM SETTINGS FOR HISTORY menu-item

The ACCEPT COOKIES FROM SITES option, when ticked (switched on / enabled), means you want to allow all Cookies from all websites unless you have made any Exceptions to the rule. And the ACCEPT THIRD-PARTY COOKIES option, when ticked (switched on / enabled), means also allow Cookies from Third-Party websites associated with the website you are currently viewing.....but only keep them until: THEY (the Cookies) EXPIRE or UNTIL I (you) CLOSE FIREFOX. You can also use the ASK ME EVERY TIME option which means you will be asked about Cookie storage each time you visit a website. The default (normally used) option is REMEMBER HISTORY, which will automatically store Cookies (Cookie files) for each website you visit. More information can be found on this Firefox Support web page.


On the SECURITY Tab (below) you can change the settings (preferences/options) associated with blocking attack websites. You should leave those options ticked (switched on / enabled), especially the WARN ME WHEN SITES TRY TO INSTALL ADD-ONS option; Firefox will warn you when a website tries to automatically download/install an Add-On (Plug-In / Applet) to do with Java for example.



Fig 2.3  Leave the SECURITY Tab options ticked, especially the WARN ME WHEN SITES TRY TO INSTALL ADD-ONS option.

If you need to disable the Java plug-in (add-on), for whatever reason(s), you need to use the Firefox TOOLS menu and not the Firefox Preferences. So close down the Preferences window, if you still have it open, and then click on the Firefox TOOLS menu. From there, select the ADD-ONS menu-item (Fig 2.4 below) to bring up (display) the Add-ons Manager window (Fig 2.5) and then click on the PLUG-INS Tab. Plug-Ins and Add-Ons are more or less the same thing, so ignore the slight technical differences here and just continue by clicking on the DISABLE button to the right of the listed Java Plug-In.....



Fig 2.4  Click on the Firefox TOOLS menu and select its ADD-ONS menu-item to continue




Fig 2.5  Click on the DISABLE button to disable the Java Plug-In (Add-On)

As you can see from the above; You can also disable or enable Adobe Flash plug-ins. So if you here of Flash malware attacks you might want to disable any Adobe Shockwave and/or Adobe Flash Player plug-ins as a precaution.

THE  GOOGLE  CHROME  WEB  BROWSER  APPLICATION

Changing the Java, Cookie, Pop-Up Window and JavaScript preferences (settings) of the Google Chrome web browser application is a little more complex than changing the Safari and Firefox preferences because many of the Google Chrome preferences are treated as Advanced and therefore hidden behind the Advanced settings (preferences). Getting to the Google Preferences window is the easy part. You just follow the same procedure as used for the Safari and Firefox preferences - With the Google Chrome web browser application already open you begin by clicking on its CHROME menu and then select its PREFERENCES menu-item to bring up (display) its Preferences window.



Fig 3.0  Click on the CHROME menu and select its PREFERENCES menu-item to continue

To get to the Advanced Preferences of the Google Chrome web browser application you need to scroll down to the end of the Preferences window and then click on the link called SHOW ADVANCED SETTINGS. Doing so will expand the Preferences window to reveal even more settings - The advanced settings (preferences).



Fig 3.1  Scroll down to the end of the Preferences window and then click on the SHOW ADVANCED SETTINGS link

With the Preferences window expanded, to reveal the advanced settings (preferences), you then need to scroll down the window until you see a heading called PRIVACY. When you have found it click on its CONTENT SETTINGS button to continue.



Fig 3.2  Scroll down to the Preferences window until you see the PRIVACY heading and then click on the CONTENT SETTINGS button

Clicking on the CONTENT SETTINGS button opens up a mini settings window whereby you can then make changes to the advanced settings (preferences), such as enable or disable JavaScript, enable or disable Cookies and so on. When you have finished making your changes simply click on the DONE button to apply/set them.



Fig 3.3  Make your required changes and then click on the DONE button to apply/set those changes

As you scroll down the mini window you will see the heading called PLUG-INS (Fig 3.4 below) whereby clicking on its DISABLE INDIVIDUAL PLUG-INS link takes you to its Plug-Ins window (Fig 3.5). From there you can click on the DISABLE link of a named plug-in (i.e. Java Plug-In) to disable it.



Fig 3.4  Click on the DISABLE INDIVIDUAL PLUG-INS link to open the Plug-Ins window and manage installed plug-ins




Fig 3.5  Click on the DISABLE link below the plug-in called Java Plug-In to disable it

At the moment the Java Plug-In is installed and enabled, but still restricted - It does not have a tick inside its ALWAYS ALLOWED checkbox (rounded square), which means Google Chrome will still ask you if you want it to download something or execute (run/launch) something in certain, uncommon, circumstances for example. In other words, the installed Java plug-in (add-on) does not have full permission to do what it likes. You will still be asked to verify its actions such as downloading and/or running a script/piece of code. If you want to disable it simply click on its DISABLE button.

In this section I have purposely not gone into great length about the technicals of Java, Cookies, Plug-Ins and JavaScript simply because I made this section primarily for those occasions whereby you just need to disable or enable Plug-Ins, JavaScript, Cookies and so on; without the need to be taught about them and know specifically what each one does.