Firefox adds Flash plug-in update protection

Mozilla kicks off scheme Tuesday; Firefox 3.6 will check for old Apple, Microsoft plug-ins, too

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

Starting Tuesday, Firefox users running Snow Leopard will be alerted to that fact after they update their browsers.

Mozilla plans to expand the plug-in check, Nightingale added. "Mozilla will work with other plug-in vendors to provide similar checks for their products in the future," he said. "Keeping your software up to date remains one of the best things you can do to keep yourself safe online, and Mozilla will continue to look for ways to make that process as easy as possible for its users."

In a follow-up comment to Nightingale's post, Christopher Blizzard, a Mozilla evangelist and former member of the Mozilla Foundation's board, spelled out in greater detail just what Mozilla wants to do.

Later this month, said Blizzard, Mozilla will publish a page on its Web site that Firefox users can visit to check the update status of other plug-ins. With the release of Firefox 3.6, now scheduled to ship in early November, the browser will check for newer versions of plug-ins through the same mechanism now used to check for updates to any installed Firefox extensions or add-ons.

"We're going to try to get to the point where you can upgrade [an outdated] plug-in via the plug-in service that we currently use for installations," promised Blizzard.

Mozilla's ambitions are actually grander than that, according to a plans posted on its Web site. Firefox 3.6 will also warn users of any outdated plug-in when they visit a page that requires the use of an older plug-in, when the browser starts up, and when the plug-in list is periodically updated by Mozilla.

The initial goal is to have Firefox 3.6 detect outdated versions of several widely-used plug-ins, including Apple's QuickTime; Adobe's Flash, Shockwave and Reader; Microsoft's Silverlight; and Sun's Java.

Flash is a major target for attackers, who regularly exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in the popular software. Adobe has patched the program twice so far this year, in February and July. Among the July update patches was a fix for a flaw that hackers had been using for at least a week in widespread attacks.

If Mozilla implements its plug-in plans, Firefox 3.6 will be the first browser to regularly check for outdated third-party add-ons.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
 
Shop Tech Products at Amazon