Java 6 will be retired from security support in less than two months, and users and businesses should prepare now for its demise. Oracle will publicly patch Java 6 for the last time on Feb. 19, 2013. After that date, only enterprises with contract support plans will receive security updates, according to the Java support roadmap. That means consumers and most businesses should upgrade to Java 7 as soon as possible.
In 2012, Java vulnerabilities were widely targeted by exploit writers and hackers. Last March, for example, approximately 2% of all Macs were infected with Flashback, malware that exploited a Java bug that Apple was sluggish in patching, even though Oracle had issued fixes for other platforms. Apple continues to maintain Java 6 for OS X users but ceded responsibility for Java 7 to Oracle in 2010.