Browser plugins have become a major target of malicious users in past years. The reasons are simple: Many plugins do not update automatically, and most web browsers fail to inform the user about plugin updates in a timely manner. This basically means that many Internet users have plugins with known vulnerabilities installed.
Some browser developers try to tackle the problem. Mozilla for instance checks the installed plugin versions on updates of the web browser, Google implemented native plugins of Flash and a PDF reader, to gain control of the updating process.
Security software, like the Secunia Software Inspector can also detect outdated plugins, but only a minority of users are making use of those programs to test their system's security.
Browser Check offers to be an alternative to Mozilla's Plugin Check. The online service is currently compatible with 32-bit versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox 3, and Google Chrome 4 and 5 running on the Windows OS. This limits the reach of the security check, users with unsupported browsers or operating systems can still use the Plugin Check over at Mozilla.
We have tested Browser Check on the latest Firefox 3.6.7 (we actually tried Google Chrome 6 first, but the program refused that browser). The check needed to install an add-on first, and displayed the test results on the next restart. The result's page looks very similar to Plugin Check as well.
The results are color coded, green indicating an up to date plugin, orange means that an update is available while red indicates an insecure plugin version or an obsolete one.
A Fix it button is displayed next to orange or red results that points to the developer's website to download the latest version of the software.
The add-on can be installed after the browser has been checked, there is no need to keep it. Is your browser up to date? Check it out over at Browser Check.
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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.