Firefox to deactivate most plug-ins by default

Mozilla has dealt another blow to those who want to use plug-ins to extend the browser's capabilities. It's keeping all but Flash Player deactivated by default in a version of Firefox now under development.

With the click-to-run plug-in feature, announced in January, plug-ins such as Silverlight and QuickTime won't run unless the user authorizes it when a Web page using them loads. That feature now is built into the Aurora version of Firefox that will grow into the final release in coming weeks. The plug-in hurdle doesn't apply to Adobe Systems' Flash Player, by far the … Read more

Google begins barring browser plug-ins from Chrome

In case it wasn't clear before, a Google decision has shown the writing is on the wall for plug-ins such as Java and Silverlight that for years have been used to extend what browsers can do.

Starting in January 2014, Google will ban all but the most widely used browser plug-ins in favor of programming methods that use standards built directly into the Web, Chrome security engineer Justin Schuh announced in a blog post Monday. And those plug-ins will be barred "over the coming year," he said.

Most Chrome plug-ins (not to be confused with the lighter-weight … Read more

Netflix plans to dump Silverlight for HTML5 streaming

Due to eroding support for browser plug-ins, Netflix is making plans to move its streaming service from Silverlight over to the emerging HTML5 video format.

The movie-streaming service has used the Microsoft plug-in to deliver streaming content to Windows and Mac OS X computers since 2008. But after Microsoft announced last month that it would end support of the browser versions of the plug-in by 2021, it became clear Netflix needs to start focusing on a replacement.

While the solution may present into through Google's efforts to make Netflix available on the ARM-based Samsung Chromebook, the movie service has … Read more

Microsoft to patch critical holes in IE, Office, Silverlight

Windows users will get the usual round of security patches from Microsoft next Tuesday.

Among the seven fixes due to roll out March 12, four are rated critical, which means they address flaws that could let an attacker execute malware on a remote PC by steering a user to a malicious Web site or e-mail link.

The patch for Internet Explorer is designed to shore up all versions from IE6 to IE10 across all iterations of Windows from XP to Windows 8 and RT. The patch for Microsoft's Silverlight, a browser plug-in that can display online videos and other … Read more

Firefox to block Silverlight and Java -- but not Flash

To improve security and cut crashes, Firefox will block plug-ins including Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Reader, Apple's QuickTime and Oracle's Java, Mozilla said.

Only the newest version of Adobe Systems' Flash Player will be run by default, said Michael Coates, Mozilla's director of security assurance, in a blog post yesterday.

Plug-ins extend a browser's ability to run software or handle different media and file formats, but that extra ability opens new avenues for attack. They've been a staple of Web development for years, but browser makers are working hard to reproduce their abilities directly with Web … Read more

Microsoft Silverlight enhances your content at home and on the go

If you're reading this, you probably run Windows. And if you run Windows, you may have noticed Microsoft Silverlight as an optional update. If you don't see it, you've probably already got it; check your Start Menu, and if you see Microsoft Silverlight, it's already installed in your system. This compact freeware is a cross-platform browser plug-in for enhancing online content and media on desktop and portable PCs as well as mobile devices. Silverlight is sort of like Flash in that it enables richer content in your browser, but the latest update greatly enhances support for … Read more

Microsoft: The Web is better without plug-ins

Microsoft began distancing itself from browser plug-ins last year starting with Internet Explorer on Windows 8's Metro interface, but it spoke more definitively today: plug-ins are bad for the Web.

"Metro-style IE runs plug-in free to improve battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers," said John Hrvatin, Internet Explorer program manager lead, in a blog post. "A plug-in free Web benefits consumers and developers and we all take part in the transition."

The upcoming IE10 browser doesn't just run in Metro, Microsoft's next-generation, touch-centric interface geared for tablets and … Read more

Microsoft plugs critical IE, .Net holes

Microsoft today issued eight security bulletins plugging 23 holes, including a critical patch for vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to take control of a computer, if someone visited a malicious Web page using Internet Explorer.

The cumulative IE patch, MS11-081, fixes eight holes and is rated high priority among today's Patch Tuesday bulletins, which include two rated critical and six rated important.

The other high-priority bulletin is MS11-078, which fixes a vulnerability in .Net Framework and Microsoft Silverlight that could allow an attacker to remotely execute code on a machine, if a user views a malicious Web page … Read more

Microsoft Patch Tuesday to target Windows, IE

Microsoft is gearing up for another Patch Tuesday.

In its regular series of monthly security fixes, the company tomorrow is launching eight separate bulletins to patch 23 different holes in a small but key range of products. Marked as "critical," two of the bulletins are aimed at stopping hackers from remotely running code in Windows, Internet Explorer, .NET, and Silverlight.

Specifically, these two bulletins are deemed critical for the desktop versions of Windows and should be applied to Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7. Only one of the bulletins is tagged as critical for Windows Server 2003, … Read more

Mozilla rebuts Microsoft's concern over WebGL 3D

Mozilla has answered Microsoft's concern that WebGL raises too many security risks with the observation that Microsoft itself has accepted the same risks with 3D interface technology coming with its own Silverlight browser plug-in.

WebGL, a new standard from Khronos Group, lets Web programmers add hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the Web with an interface that mirrors the OpenGL ES 2.0 standard used among other places in Android and iOS devices. WebGL opens up online possibilities such as virtual worlds and graphically rich games, and it's built into Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome today.

Microsoft, though, … Read more