Plug-ins are additional software components that are added to your browser to view certain features. Some of the most popular plug-ins are Adobe Flash, Java, and Quicktime Player. These add ons are important to keep up to date, as several are known to have security issues without updates. In the past, we published an article for Firefox users about making sure your plug ins were up to date. There is also a website for Firefox users to go and check if the plug ins are up to date.
But what if you are using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome? I just discovered a website that will allow you to check for Plug-in updates, no matter what browser you use. Qualys BroswerCheck can be used to check the security of any browser. It can be used as a plug-in itself, or you can run it without the plug-in.
When you run it without the plug-in, it will check the browser you are currently using for any security issues, and offer the option to fix them if needed. This is perfectly acceptable and provides the results you need.
Installing the plug-in, though, will allow you to do a more thorough scan. It includes options for a Basic scan, which only scans the current browser, scanning all browsers and your OS settings on Intermediate scan, or scanning your browsers, OS, and any missing Windows security updates using an Advanced scan.
After running an advanced scan, my scan did find one vulnerability in an older version of Flash. It allowed me to click on Fix It to fix the problem and make my browser more secure.
Keeping plug-ins up to date is very important with many known security issues out there. It is especially important if you are still holding onto XP, as this would expose even more vulnerabilities of your system.