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Firefox to warn users of insecure Adobe Flash

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Reducing security risks from open source software

Upcoming versions of Mozilla's Firefox browser will automatically warn users running versions of Adobe's Flash Media Player that contain known security bugs, according to a published report.

The check will be invoked each time the popular open-source browser is updated, according to the report which was published Thursday by The H. Users who have out-of-date versions of the Adobe application will be notified in the "What's New" browser page that automatically opens each time an update is installed.

The feature is already available in versions 3.5.3 and 3.0.14 versions of Firefox, which are in beta testing, according to the publication. Mozilla officials didn't respond to emails requesting comment.

The move makes perfect sense given the difficulty many computer users have installing Adobe updates in a timely fashion. A report (PDF) released last month by security firm Trusteer found that 80 percent of PCs users failed to install one or more critical updates more than two weeks after they were issued. An estimated 99 percent of internet users have Flash installed, making it one of the world's most ubiquitous programs.

Flaws in the program are routinely exploited by criminals to install keyloggers and other malicious software on end-user machines.

If the Firefox feature makes it into release versions, Flash laggards who install a new version of the browser will receive a warning that reads: "You should update Adobe Flash right now. Firefox is up to date, but your current version of Flash can cause security and stability issues. Please install the free update as soon as possible." A download link is included. ®

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