Firefox 3.6 checks your plugins are up to date

Filed Under: Firefox, Vulnerability

Yesterday, Mozilla released the latest version of its web browser Firefox and it comes with a rather nice-sounding security feature.

Firefox 3.6 claims to be faster than ever before, but that's not why it's caught my attention. The new functionality that I'm pleased to hear about is its ability to detect out-of-date plugins.

Plugins are those little micro-applications that augment your browser to help you watch online videos, view PDF documents, and such like. They're not normally written by the same people who write your browser which means you might have found it hard in the past to keep track of the latest versions and to ensure you are updated against security vulnerabilities.

And that's a problem, because hackers are more and more frequently targeting ubiquitous plugins like those for Adobe Flash and Acrobat PDF Reader to spread malware, exploiting security holes in their code.

Now Mozilla Firefox promises to check these plugins for you, and advise you of when it's time to update. Hopefully that will encourage more people to keep their computer systems patched, and make life harder for the bad guys.

Firefox plugin check

We'll have to see how well this works, but for now you can try Firefox's Plugin Check page for yourself.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley