After a recent Java 8 update, our applets started giving us a ClassNotFoundException as though they could not find the main jar for the applet in the classpath (when it is actually present).

This is what we find in the Java Console:

java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: qoppa.webNotes.PDFWebNotes
at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)

and:

javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.recvAlert(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.readRecord(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.performInitialHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsClient.afterConnect(Unknown Source)

Read how to Show Java Console and be sure to enable a level log of 5 to see this information in this log.

(see the full Java Console Log below)

We have figured out a few things:

1) Only in https

This is only happening when we run our applets with https. The applets run fine with http.

2) Due to RC4

This seems to be an issue with the fact that RC4_128_SHA is enabled as a SSL Cipher Suites on our Apache server.

RC4 cypher
RC4 cypher

3) Verify if RC4 is enabled on your server

You can easily check / verify if RC4 is enabled on your server / website here:
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html

4) RC4 Considered Compromised by Java 8

RC4 is now considered compromised since Java 8 Update 60 (8u60).  This is from Java 6 Update 60 release notes:

Bug Fix: Disable RC4 cipher suites
RC4-based TLS ciphersuites (e.g. TLS_RSA_WITH_RC4_128_SHA) are now considered compromised and should no longer be used (see RFC 7465). Accordingly, RC4-based TLS ciphersuites have been deactivated by default in the Oracle JSSE implementation by adding “RC4” to “jdk.tls.disabledAlgorithms” security property, and by removing them from the default enabled ciphersuites list. Read more about reactivating these cipher suites in Java 8 Update 60 release notes.

5) How to Resolve the Issue: Disable RC4

We first tried disabling RC4 by editing the cipher suites in our Apache Server through WHM. See instructions here. This did not work for us even after rebooting Apache.

We ended up having to edit directly the httpd.conf file for Apache (for our virtual host), located under /user/local/apache/conf with this line:

 
SSLCipherSuite ALL:!ADH:RC4+RSA:+HIGH:+MEDIUM:-LOW:-SSLv2:-EXP:!kEDH

5) Our Applets are working now!

Full Java Console Log (Before Fix)

Java Plug-in 11.65.2.17
Using JRE version 1.8.0_65-b17 Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM
User home directory = C:\Users\Leila Holmann
----------------------------------------------------
c:   clear console window
f:   finalize objects on finalization queue
g:   garbage collect
h:   display this help message
l:   dump classloader list
m:   print memory usage
o:   trigger logging
q:   hide console
r:   reload policy configuration
s:   dump system and deployment properties
t:   dump thread list
v:   dump thread stack
x:   clear classloader cache
0-5: set trace level to <n>
----------------------------------------------------
Trace level set to 5: all ... completed.basic: PluginMain.unregisterApplet: 1 from mananger sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2Manager@37df2a
preloader: Construct preloader delegate
preloader: Construct preloader delegate adapter=class com.sun.deploy.uitoolkit.impl.awt.AWTAppletAdapter
preloader: Setting default preloader and progress monitor for non JNLP applets
basic: Added progress listener: sun.plugin.util.ProgressMonitorAdapter@1ff208c
preloader: Installing progress monitor true
security: Expected Main URL: https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/jars/webnotes.jar
basic: Plugin2ClassLoader.addURL parent called for https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/jars/webnotes.jar
preloader: Using preloader class: null com.sun.deploy.uitoolkit.impl.awt.AWTAppletAdapter@1539caf
preloader: Using default preloader
preloader: Requested to use preloader class: null
basic: Plugin2ClassLoader.addURL parent called for https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/jars/jPDFNotes.jar
network: Connecting https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/jars/webnotes.jar with proxy=DIRECT
network: Connecting http://www.qoppa.com:443/ with proxy=DIRECT
preloader: Skipped all (0) download events prior to null
preloader: GrayBox: parent = sun.plugin2.main.client.PluginEmbeddedFrame[frame2,0,0,1567x941,layout=java.awt.BorderLayout,title=,resizable,normal]
javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.recvAlert(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.readRecord(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.performInitialHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsClient.afterConnect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.AbstractDelegateHttpsURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsURLConnectionImpl.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarFileFactory.get(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFileInternal(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.access$800(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader$1.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.ensureOpen(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.<init>(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$3.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getResource(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.findClassHelper(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadCode(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager.initAppletAdapter(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
network: Connecting https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/jars/jPDFNotes.jar with proxy=DIRECT
network: Connecting http://www.qoppa.com:443/ with proxy=DIRECT
javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.recvAlert(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.readRecord(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.performInitialHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsClient.afterConnect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.AbstractDelegateHttpsURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsURLConnectionImpl.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarFileFactory.get(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFileInternal(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.access$800(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader$1.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.ensureOpen(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.<init>(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$3.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getResource(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.findClassHelper(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadCode(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager.initAppletAdapter(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
network: Connecting https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/jars/webnotes.jar with proxy=DIRECT
network: Connecting http://www.qoppa.com:443/ with proxy=DIRECT
ui: missing resource: java.util.MissingResourceException: Can't find resource for bundle com.sun.deploy.resources.Deployment, key Loading Java Applet ...
basic: Loading Java Applet ...
javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.recvAlert(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.readRecord(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.performInitialHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsClient.afterConnect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.AbstractDelegateHttpsURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsURLConnectionImpl.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarFileFactory.get(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFileInternal(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.access$800(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader$1.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.ensureOpen(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.<init>(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$3.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getResource(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.findClassHelper(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadCode(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager.initAppletAdapter(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
network: Connecting https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/jars/jPDFNotes.jar with proxy=DIRECT
network: Connecting http://www.qoppa.com:443/ with proxy=DIRECT
javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.Alerts.getSSLException(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.recvAlert(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.readRecord(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.performInitialHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.security.ssl.SSLSocketImpl.startHandshake(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsClient.afterConnect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.AbstractDelegateHttpsURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.https.HttpsURLConnectionImpl.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.PluginURLJarFileCallBack.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.retrieve(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.URLJarFile.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarFileFactory.get(Unknown Source)
at sun.net.www.protocol.jar.JarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.connect(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFileInternal(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin.net.protocol.jar.CachedJarURLConnection.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.getJarFile(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.access$800(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader$1.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.ensureOpen(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$JarLoader.<init>(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath$3.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getLoader(Unknown Source)
at com.sun.deploy.security.DeployURLClassPath.getResource(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader$2.run(Unknown Source)
at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.findClassHelper(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadCode(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager.initAppletAdapter(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: qoppa.webNotes.PDFWebNotes
at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadCode(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager.initAppletAdapter(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
basic: load: class qoppa.webNotes.PDFWebNotes not found.
java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: qoppa.webNotes.PDFWebNotes
at sun.plugin2.applet.Applet2ClassLoader.findClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass0(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2ClassLoader.loadCode(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager.initAppletAdapter(Unknown Source)
at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
preloader: Delivering: ErrorEvent[url=https://www.qoppa.com/files/pdfnotes/demo/ label=qoppa.webNotes.PDFWebNotes cause=qoppa.webNotes.PDFWebNotes
preloader: Enqueue: com.sun.javaws.progress.PreloaderDelegate$4@16c8fa1
security: Reset deny session certificate store
basic: Removed progress listener: sun.plugin.util.ProgressMonitorAdapter@1ff208c
preloader: Start progressCheck thread
preloader: Preloader shutdown after ErrorEvent
preloader: Stop progressCheck thread queue.size()=0
ui: Show default error panel
security: Reset deny session certificate store