Keeping your browser plugins up-to-date is one of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to the latest computer exploits. On the other hand, knowing when your plugins need updating is not necessarily an easy task. One option is to periodically visit the respective plugin vendors’ websites to compare your currently installed version against the latest release. Adobe makes this easier than most as they maintain links to easily determine if you have the most up-to-date plugin already installed.
Clicking on the above link will confirm that the Adobe Flash plugin is properly installed. You’ll then need to compare installed version against the latest version listed for your OS and browser combination. If your version is out-of-date, you can click on the following link to download the latest update:
Adobe Flash Player
Note that you’ll need to exit and relaunch Internet Explorer after installing the latest update before the version check link will show the correct installed version. On the other hand, Adobe Flash is built into Google Chrome. Chrome will automatically update when new versions of the Flash Player are released.
Adobe makes updating the Shockwave player even easier. Just click on the above link. If the Shockwave player is not installed or is out-of-date, you’ll be prompted to download and install the latest release.
Qualys greatly simplifies the process by allowing you to quickly check that all of your installed plugins are up-to-date. Just visit the following website:
Note that you’ll be prompted to install a plugin before running the browser check. Selecting “All Browsers and Plugins” under the Scan Options in the upper right allows you to scan for out-of-date plugins all at once. You can even select the option to run additional system checks to ensure that you have the latest anti-virus software and Windows Updates installed and that the Windows Firewall is enabled.