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Mozilla Plugincheck

Tested with Firefox 17.0.

Keeping software up to date is an important part of good security. Plugins can sometimes be overlooked, but they are especially important to keep up to date, as they are often exploited. Mozilla has come up with a very handy online tool to make this easier, and this page should help you use it.

  • Open plugincheck: In Firefox, from the "Tools" menu, select "Add-ons". On the left, select the "Plugins" tab. Near the top of the page, click "Check to see if your plugins are up to date". A new tab or window should open. This displays your plugin statuses.

    Each plugin should be listed with a colored button. Ideally, all plugins should show green. Hot colors (red, yellow) indicate a vulnerability. If the button is gray, Mozilla does not have enough information about this plugin to tell you whether it is up to date. We do not currently consider this a major concern. Mozilla tracks the plugins which have the most severe and/or frequent problems.

  • Update: For each vulnerable plugin, click the button to obtain an updated version directly from the vendor. For example, the button next to Flash will take you to Adobe's site. You may find it convenient to open these links in new tabs, so that you can leave the plugincheck page open to use as a checklist.

  • Choices: As you are running each installer, if you are asked whether you want to let it update automatically, choose "yes". If you are asked to install anything extra, choose "no". Be careful: Some installers will show a checkbox for the extra software, and have it checked by default.

  • Java: If you are running 64 bit Windows, you will almost certainly have both the 32 and 64 bit versions of Java. You want to update the 32 bit version first, then the 64 bit version. (If you already did them out of order, don't worry about it.)

    You will probably see a listing for "Java Deployment Toolkit" and one for "Java(TM) Platform SE". I don't know which is which, but at this time they both lead to the same page, which has clearly marked links for 32 and 64 bit offline installers. If you don't see those, look for "All Java Downloads" on the left of the Java site.

  • Google Earth: The button next to the Google Earth plugin may not actually be a link, although it may behave like a link. We haven't discovered the cause of this behavior, but we don't consider the plugin to be a critical security threat.

  • Before closing plugincheck: You may want to bookmark the page for convenience. Regardless, you should copy the URL and paste it into each of your other browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, Opera, etc). Some plugins, for example Flash, have different plugins for different browsers. To update the Flash plugin for Explorer, you need to hit the plugincheck page in Explorer, and so on.

    After installing all the updated plugins, you may need to restart Firefox before the change is reflected in plugincheck. You should do so and make sure that plugincheck recognizes that all plugins are up to date (or untracked).




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