The Mozilla Firefox development team started to check the Flash plugin version of Firefox web browsers on the What's New page after Firefox updates recently. This page would inform users if the Flash plugin version of their web browser was not the latest one which usually meant that their web browser was open for attacks that would target vulnerabilities in outdated Flash versions. The website would describe the problem to the user and offer a solution in the form of a download link to the latest Flash plugin at the Adobe website.
The idea came up to extend this check to include other popular plugins as well. A first version of that plugin checker is now online and available at a test server which can be publicly accessed by anyone.
The scripts on the page will check for installed plugins and compare the version of the installed plugin with the latest version that is offered officially by the developer of the plugin. Supported are at the moment (among others) Apple Quicktime, Shockwave Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Java, RealPlayer and Windows Media Player plugins.
Plugins are either rated as safe or potentially vulnerable (there might be a third rating for vulnerable plugins). An update button is displayed next to potentially vulnerable plugins which should lead to a download page to update the latest version of the plugin. Some plugins do not reveal their full version which means that they will be shown as potentially vulnerable even if the latest version is installed.
Users who want to check out the Mozilla Plugin Check server right now can do so by visiting this link. They should know that the web browser will detect an invalid certificate and ignore it if they wish to continue. The plugin check website is working partially if other web browsers are used to connect to it.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.