Running the latest version of Firefox with outdated plugins is like having a modern burglar alarm while leaving the balcony door wide open. In order to be safe on the web, your plugins must be updated too.
As an example of the real threats of using outdated plugins, consider the popular Flash plugin created by Adobe Systems. It is used to play videos on YouTube and many other sites, and has a history of serious security issues. What this means is that if you haven’t upgraded to the latest version of Flash, it doesn’t matter if you’re using the latest and most secure version of Firefox because plugins are independent pieces of programs running inside the web browser, which Mozilla doesn’t control (and didn’t create). Of course, this is true for every web browser out there, including Internet Explorer.
In other words, no matter how safe your web browser is, you’re still vulnerable to security exploits if your plugins are not up to date, because they open up security holes beyond the web browser’s control.
So how do you ensure that your plugins are up to date? Mozilla’s new Plugin Check page comes to the rescue! The page went live today on mozilla.com after a few weeks of testing and is a very important step in making the web safer. To see if you’re running any outdated and insecure plugins, just visit the Plugin Check page and update any plugins marked as out of date.
For Firefox Support and the SUMO community, this is an important milestone since 30% of the reported crashes are caused by plugins. By increasing the number of users running updated plugins, the number of reported problems on SUMO should drop significantly. Also, giving users access to a page that allows them to take control of their security is a good example of how important web safety is for Mozilla.
This Plugin Check page is just the first step in making it easier to keep your plugins safe. Future versions of Firefox will have this functionality built in, eventually making the experience as seamless as keeping Firefox itself up to date. In the meantime, we’ll make sure to link to the Plugin Check page wherever it makes sense to do so on SUMO.