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Mozilla drops Firefox 3.6 with security goodies

The Firefox 3.6 update includes new features to patch third-party Firefox plug-ins and lock out rogue add-ons.
Written by Ryan Naraine, Contributor on

Mozilla has released the latest iteration of its flagship Firefox browser with a few significant security goodies to keep malicious hacker at bay.

The update, which is being shipped via the browser's automatic update mechanism, includes new features to patch third-party Firefox plug-ins and lock out rogue add-ons.

There are no security vulnerabilities being fixed with this Firefox 3.6 update.

Building on the browser's ability to check for updates to Adobe Flash Player, Mozilla has now fitted a plug-in checker that scans the machine for insecure plug-ins that are installed.  If an outdated plug-in is found, the browser will now prompt the user to apply the patch via a one-click interface.

[ SEE: Microsoft exposes Firefox users to drive-by malware downloads ]

Firefox users should keep in mind that plug-ins are different from add-ons or extensions.  Many software products add plug-ins to Firefox without the user's knowledge or consent and these are rarely patched by the end-user.

Here is a link to the Firefox Plug-in Checker.

The second major security improvement in Firefox 3.6 is a behind-the-scenes tweak to lock out rogue Firefox add-ons.  The feature is called Component Directory Lockdown, blocks browser add-ons from loading in the browser’s application components directory, a move that effectivly stops developers and software vendors from silently installing Firefox add-ons without explicit user permission.

It will also significantly reduce browser crashes linked to third-party add-ons, Mozilla said.

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