Why doesn desktop anti-virus software provide adequate protection from malicious Java applets?
Summary: Typical desktop anti-virus programs are not aware of the Java environment. Rather, they treat the entire Java environment (including all applets running within it) as a single program. Full Explanation: An anti-virus program monitors the various components of your system and protects them. The whole Java environment, being an interpreted environment, looks like a single program to the anti-virus. Harmful Java applets may take control of the Java environment, pretend to be a program local to the system, and cause damage by executing functions allowed for local executables only. Such a scenario is beyond the detection capability of the anti-virus, as it cannot properly identify that the source of the operations. An anti-virus program may still protect the system from a few of the harmful functions (e.g. it might block alterations to the system’s master boot record), but it will not prevent most of them (e.g. it will permit copying, deleting, encoding and transfering most files).