Feeds

Exploits no more! Firefox 26 blocks all Java plugins by default

Click-to-run activated even for latest version

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The latest release of the Firefox web browser, version 26, now blocks Java software on all websites by default unless the user specifically authorizes the Java plugin to run.

The change has been a long time coming. The Mozilla Foundation had originally planned to make click-to-run the default for all versions of the Java plugin beginning with Firefox 24, but decided to delay the change after dismayed users raised a stink.

Beginning with the version of Firefox that shipped on Tuesday, whenever the browser encounters a Java applet or a Java Web Start launcher, it first displays a dialog box asking for authorization before allowing the plugin to launch.

Users can also opt to click "Allow and Remember," which adds the current webpage to an internal whitelist so that Java code on it will run automatically in the future, without further human intervention.

Mozilla's move comes after a series of exploits made the Java plugin one of the most popular vectors for web-based malware attacks over the past few years. So many zero-day exploits targeting the plugin have been discovered, in fact, that the Firefox devs have opted to give all versions of Java the cold shoulder, including the most recent one.

Screenshot showing Firefox plugin click-to-run dialog box

You can whitelist certain pages if you want – just be sure you know what you're doing

Generally speaking, Mozilla plans to activate click-to-run for all plugins by default, although the Adobe Flash Player plugin has been given a pass so far, owing to the prevalence of Flash content on the web.

In addition to the change to the default Java plugin behavior, Firefox 26 includes a number of security patches, bug fixes, and minor new features. The official release notes are available here and a full list of changes in the release can be had here.

As usual, current Firefox installations can be upgraded to version 26 using the internal update mechanism, and installers for the latest release are available from the Firefox homepage. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.