Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Internet Explorer 11 and Java 7 Update 51 Bug Fixed

An inadvertent bug in the code we use to detect whether Java is installed on an end user's computer was preventing the Java chat client from loading when Internet Explorer 11 was used with Java 7 Update 51.  The end user would see:


Under these conditions, the dialog would state that the Java plugin was not enabled, but this was not actually the case.  A bug fix was pushed to all ParaChat services on March 27.  Now, end users who choose Internet Explorer 11 as their web browser, and have the latest version of Java installed on their computer, will see the ParaChat log-in panel display normally:


...and the ParaChat Java chat client will load when the Java radio button is selected in our Chat Client Type Selector:


We genuinely apologize to Internet Explorer 11 for blaming you for every problem.  This one was on us!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bitcoin Accepted Here

Watch the Video Enable Java Chrome

Bitcoin Accepted
We are pleased to now accept Bitcoin as payment for ParaChat service.  Offering Bitcoin as a payment method to our world-wide customers provides an opportunity for you to remit payment more easily, inexpensively and universally than any other method.  We are very pleased to be able to extend such a benefit.  To pay for ParaChat using Bitcoin, simply select BitPay as your payment method during order placement, or when paying an existing invoice.

Choose BitPay
When you choose the BitPay payment method and pay for your order, our billing system will direct you to a bitpay.com invoice page showing a button or QR code to pay for your order.  To submit your Bitcoin payment, either 1) click the Pay with Bitcoin button to launch your Bitcoin wallet, or 2) scan the QR code to launch your Bitcoin wallet. 

BitPay Invoice

The Bitcoin payment address and amount automatically display in your Bitcoin wallet.  Complete your order by sending the payment to the Pay To address.


Bitcoin Wallet

Once you have submitted your payment, you will be automatically directed back to the ParaChat site.  Due to the exchange rate calculation, an unpaid BitPay invoice will automatically expire 15 minutes after it is generated.  If you do not submit your Bitcoin payment within the 15 minute timeframe, simply use the Back button in your web browser so the invoice can be calculated at the most up-to-date exchange rate (or log into your ParaChat account and click the Pay Now button on the invoice).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Do you want to run this application? Yes, you do!

Watch the Video YouTube

ParaChat has offered a signed, or trusted, Java chat applet to ParaChat Professional and ParaChat Enterprise customers for many years.  A signed applet is typically a low-risk Java application with a valid certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority.

In October 2013, the default ParaChat Java chat applet became a signed Java applet for all of our service levels.  Recent Java updates have improved the security of Java applets, and this information will show you what to expect when you select the ParaChat Java chat user interface option from our log-in panel.

Log-in Panel


When you input a user name, select the Java chat user interface radio button, and click Connect, you will see a Java dialog display that asks, Do you want to run this application?


Signed Applet

You'll know the application is ParaChat when you see...

Name:  ParaChat
Publisher:  ParaChat Group
Location:  a URL with a "parachat.com" domain name

Once you confirm the name, publisher and location as originating from ParaChat, click the Run button to log into the chat room.  The signed Java chat applet provides you with an opportunity to stop the display of the Do you want to run this application dialog every time you want to access ParaChat.  To stop the dialog from displaying, just check the Do not show this again for apps from the publisher and location above check box before you click the Run button.

After you click Run, the Java chat room loads normally. 

ParaChat Room

The next time you visit the chat room, the Do you want to run this application? dialog will no longer display -- you are connected right away.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The new "This application will be blocked" yellow warning box

On October 15, 2013, Oracle released Java 7 Update 45.  When an end user loads the signed ParaChat Java chat client after updating their Java version to Java 7 Update 45, they may notice a new yellow warning box within the Do you want to run this application? dialog.  The yellow warning box contains a message that says This application will be blocked in a future Java security update because the JAR file manifest does not contain the Permissions attribute:

Signed JAR file manifest

Please note that this is a known issue that will be resolved on October 16, 2013, when the ParaChat JAR file manifest is updated to contain the Permissions attribute.  Once this ParaChat JAR file has been updated, the yellow warning box will no longer display in the Do you want to run this application? signed Java chat client dialog.

For related information, please also see the I see "Do you want to run this application?". What should I do? article, and the video here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Does pclient.main.ChatClient mean ParaChat?

ParaChat has offered a signed, or trusted, Java chat applet option to its customers for many years.  As of October 2013, the signed Java chat applet is the default Java.  If a customer has embedded the Java chat room code in their web page using the "applet" tag, users will see the following dialog display when the chat room loads:

pclient.main.ChatClient

To allow the signed Java chat applet to load, click the Run button.  So the dialog does not display during subsequent visits, check the "Do not show this again for apps from this publisher and location above" check box.  However, users may be reluctant to run or trust the application if its name is pclient.main.ChatClient instead of something more familiar like ParaChat.  To ease the potential reluctance of users to trust the ParaChat application, we recommend the following:

1.  Log into your ParaChat service administration area to retrieve the latest room code.  Replace the Java applet room code embedded in your web page with the latest room code you retrieved from your administration area.  Once the room code has been replaced, users will see Name: ParaChat instead, which a user may be more inclined to trust:

ParaChat Signed

2.  If you are unable to change the room code as referenced in #1 above, you may change
pclient.main.ChatClient.class in the Java applet room code in your web page to say ParaChat.class instead.

The signed ParaChat Java applet has a signature that a web browser may verify through a remotely running, independent certificate authority server. Producing this signature involves specialized tools and interaction with the certificate authority server maintainers themselves. Once the signature is verified by the certificate authority server, and the end-user also approves, a signed Java applet can get more rights, becoming equivalent to an ordinary standalone program. This approach allows Java applets to be used for many tasks that are otherwise not possible by client-side scripting. However, this approach requires more responsibility from the end-user because they have to decide whom they trust.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Free ParaChat Basic & BasicPlus Get Signed Java Applet


The free ParaChat Basic & ParaChat BasicPlus log-in panel now includes a "Java (Signed)" client selector:

 
When an end-user chooses the "Java (Signed)" client option, they will be connected to ParaChat via a signed Java applet.  During their initial connection attempt, they will see a dialog that requests permission to run the applet: 



To allow the signed Java chat applet to load, click the Run button.  So the dialog does not display during subsequent visits, check the "Do not show this again for apps from this publisher and location above" check box.

The signed ParaChat Java applet has a signature that a web browser may verify through a remotely running, independent certificate authority server. Producing this signature involves specialized tools and interaction with the certificate authority server maintainers themselves. Once the signature is verified by the certificate authority server, and the end-user also approves, a signed Java applet can get more rights, becoming equivalent to an ordinary standalone program. This approach allows Java applets to be used for many tasks that are otherwise not possible by client-side scripting. However, this approach requires more responsibility from the end-user because they have to decide whom they trust.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Critical Internet Explorer bug being exploited

IE
The Microsoft Security Response Center announced in a security advisory today that an issue exists in Internet Explorer 8 and 9, and potentially all Internet Explorer versions from IE6 to IE11, that could allow remote code execution.  The remote code could be executed if an Internet Explorer user browses to a web site that contains malicious content.  Microsoft's advisory encourages concerned users to do the following:


  • Apply the Microsoft Fix it solution, "CVE-2013-3893 MSHTML Shim Workaround," that prevents exploitation of this issue
    See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 2887505 to use the automated Microsoft Fix it solution to enable or disable this workaround.
  • Set Internet and local intranet security zone settings to "High" to block ActiveX Controls and Active Scripting in these zones
    This will help prevent exploitation but may affect usability; therefore, trusted sites should be added to the Internet Explorer Trusted Sites zone to minimize disruption.
  • Configure Internet Explorer to prompt before running Active Scripting or to disable Active Scripting in the Internet and local intranet security zones
    This will help prevent exploitation but can affect usability, so trusted sites should be added to the Internet Explorer Trusted Sites zone to minimize disruption.
 
For more information about this issue, please visit:

Hackers exploit critical IE bug; Microsoft promises patch [Computerworld]