The problem of extra software

A compelling reason for getting rid of the programs that you don’t use or need.


Old joke: A man goes to the doctor and complains, “I feel good most of the time, but it hurts when I do this.” (Let your imagination fill in what “this” is.) The doctor replies, “Then don’t do that.”

Java, the software, has been in the news lately. There are cyber security problems connected with it, and it has the ability to run on a wide variety of systems, so it is a preferred port of entry for hackers. Most recently, there have been reports that if you have it on your computer and visit compromised web sites, the site can exploit Java vulnerabilities and dump malware on your computer.

IT security analyst Dan Kaplan recommends, “Java has been hard hit in recent years and represents arguably the most common attack vector, prompting a number of security experts to advise users to simply remove the software for good.”

The point of this discussion is that you may have Java and not realize it. It might be on your computer even though there are no applications that need it. You can see if you have it. Bottom line, if there is no compelling reason to have Java, you should uninstall it. Follow the doctor’s advice and don’t do that.

The same advice applies to more than Java. If you are responsible for your industrial networks, you should know all the programs on your systems, including the latest revision levels, and why you have them. The nightmare scenario is that you have an old program with assorted unpatched vulnerabilities that you don’t even know are there. A hacker finds that vulnerability and you’re in trouble.

The fewer programs on your system, the fewer you have to update and protect. Some platforms are very necessary and critical to your operation, so you have to keep a close watch on them. Get rid of all the others.

Peter Welander,

LARRY , WA, United States, 01/16/13 03:14 PM:

Ummm... cleaning unused cruft out of your computer is fine, but the writer of this piece seems unaware of the distinction between Java the programming language and Java the Plug-in, the scripting engine for Web Browsers. Eliminating 'Java' to remove plug-in vulnerabilities is a bit draconian -- you might as well eliminate all major programming languages and their run-time libraries while you are at it. Even though this will make your system safer by making much of your software unusable, it won't mean that your system is secure, given the many major packages with long histories of serious problems: Flash, PDF, Microsoft Office, Windows... Maybe some common sense is appropriate! Click your browser settings to disable Java scripting. Or better yet, use Firefox with the NoScript plugin, and deny Web sites an opportunity of running any browser scripting software without your explicit permission.
Peter , , 01/17/13 01:58 PM:

Java and JavaScript are two different things. Look at the resources in the links. The point is not to disable things you need, but to get rid of things you don't. If you have nothing that depends on Java, don't keep it on your computer. If you must have Java, at least keep it up to date. Is that not common sense?
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.