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Small Business Briefing

Why you need to update Java on work computers now Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

Java is hackers' most common target

A warning from All Things D, brought by The Wall Street Journal: Update the version of Java running on your computer -- now.

Why? A "scary vulnerability" detected and subsequently fixed by Oracle Corp. is nevertheless being exploited by the computer bad guys, and they could create the malware and crimeware that could wreak havoc on small and other sized businesses, according to the AllThings D report.

But even after it was found and fixed, nobody on the security side realized how dangerous it was, according to the report. But crimeware creators figured it out, and starting adding code to websites to take advantage of it, according to the report.

That is particularly dangerous at this time of year, when people are using home and work computers to shop online, and many IT staffers are on vacation, according to the report.

It noted that The National Vulnerability Database rated this vulnerability as a 10 out of 10 on its severity scale, and low on an access complexity scale, which means it's high in ease to carry out an attack using it, according to the AllThings D report.

Java has become the most common target for hackers, according to a Microsoft Corp. security report, which said that the most common software exploits in the first half of this year were against vulnerabilities in the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), according to several reports, including this one and this one. The report found that one-third to one-half of all exploits were associated with JRE.

One reason it's such a focus is because the programming language is installed in millions of computers worldwide. And as the reports note, though the vulnerabilities get fixed, attackers work on the hope that users will put off software updates.

What to do? Keep your software up to date with the latest patches, and until you can do that, disable Java and block it at your firewall, the reports advise.

Bye 2011, hello 2012

It's that that time of year, when the pundits and prognosticators start to weigh in on what's up for the coming year.

What lies ahead for small business? TheStreet.com weighs in with nine trends to watch for in 2012.

Before they even get there, however, Reuters offers up some ways that small businesses can make the most of the last month of 2011 to pay off in the year ahead.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Next 36 co-founder speaks

Reza Satchu, founding chairman of the Next 36, will be speaking at the Canadian Club in Toronto on Dec. 9. A year after the launch of the Next 36, he will speak about the national entrepreneurship leadership initiative. which recruits 36 students each year from across Canada to teach them leadership and entrepreneurship skills. For more information, click here.

Midnight deadline for ACE student entrepreneur nominations

The deadline closes at midnight tonight for nominations for the 2012 student entrepreneur national competition, operated by Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE).

It honours full-time university or college students who also operate a business. To nominate a student entrepreneur, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

He shoots, he scores, with hockey memorabilia

PropertyGuys.com Inc. co-founder and hockey fanatic Ken LeBlanc has amassed a collection of 15,000 to 20,000 pieces of sports memorabilia, the lion's share about Canada's national sport, much of it focused on his favourite team -- Go, Leafs, go -- and players. Read our latest Splurge report and also check out a picture gallery of Mr. LebBlanc and his collection.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Social media: seeking proof of the payoff

It's a dilemma many businesses are facing: As they jump onto on the social media bandwagon, how can companies know if their social media initiatives are translating into sales? Varicent Software Inc. posed that question in June when it sought our help in getting expert advice as a subject of our ongoing series The Challenge. Read what the experts had to say.



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