End of Life Announcement

Starting with the release of Transact v4.1.3.0, Ephesoft will be declaring End of Life for the Java Applet that runs the Transact Web Scanner user interface. All subsequent Transact releases will leverage the new HTML5 Advanced Web Scanner Service. We encourage all Transact customers to move to this new service.

We have already seen a number of Transact Web Scanner users move to the Advanced Web Scanner Service. The transition was seamless for them.

For your review, below is the history and reasons why new Advanced Web Scanner Utility is critical for customers to deploy and use.

History of the Web Scanner Java Applet:

Ephesoft originally offered web based scanning in Transact by using plug-in browser applets. Approximately Five years ago, this was the contemporary way to achieve this type of functionality in browsers. Transact has carried this capability forward from that time for the sake of backwards compatibility, as many Transact users took advantage of this scanning feature.

About two years ago, Transact added a new scanning functionality known as Advanced Web Scanner. The need for this new, advanced scanning mechanism was driven by the problematic nature of browser applets. In addition, many browsers have dropped applet support over the past two years, and there have been numerous reports of security vulnerabilities identified with such applications.

Here’s an independent assessment of the troublesome nature of web applets.

https://www.wired.com/2016/01/goodbye-applets-another-cruddy-piece-of-web-tech-is-finally-going-away/

“Goodbye Applets: Another Cruddy Piece of Web Tech Is Finally Going Away. Another piece of old, insecure web infrastructure is about to be killed off. Oracle says that it’s discontinuing its Java browser plugin starting with the next big release of the programming language.”

 

The only browser that continues to support browser applets is Microsoft Internet Explorer–and even that is coming to an end soon. Here is what Microsoft has to say about their own web applet support in Internet Explorer:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh968248(v=vs.85).aspx

Reasons:

From the early history of the web, browser plug-ins have played a vital role by enabling rich online multimedia experiences and complex web application functionality. However, along with these capabilities, plug-ins can come with some disadvantages. Because plug-ins are essentially applications that run inside the browser, they consume additional system resources and expose additional attack surface to security risks. Also, plug-ins are not designed for touch, and because they are separate applications from the browser itself, they don’t benefit from any changes coming with Internet Explorer 10 and later that make websites work smoothly with touch. Finally, plug-ins are based on proprietary technologies and are written with variable code quality, making it difficult to predict or control their support across different browsers and operating systems.

The security risks associated with web applets and shrinking support for them has forced Ephesoft to abandon the Web Scanner applet. This has been supported for backward compatibility for past users, but it is not recommended for new customers that are adopting Ephesoft Transact. In addition, even existing users will soon be forced to abandon the use of the Web Scanner applet as security vulnerabilities increase and no solutions are offered by browser vendors to correct them. For these reasons, Ephesoft is declaring an End of Life for the Web Scanner and we are not dedicating further resources to a discontinued technology. We are protecting our customers from unsupported vulnerabilities beyond our control that would otherwise negatively affect our customer’s data integrity and security.

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