Due to new found security vulnerabilities in JAVA, and with a patch not coming out until at least this coming Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security along with the majority of anti-virus companies are recommending disabling the software until the security update is available.
Apparently the security issue in question makes the web browser vulnerable to virus / trojan infected websites (which number one out of every ten sites on the web). The infection can install scare-ware (also known as ransom-ware) attempting to con the end user into paying for fake anti-virus software.
How to disable JAVA: http://www.java.com/en/download/help/disable_browser.xml
A more in depth ‘about JAVA’ article: http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/01/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-java-exploit/