Feeds

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

Click-to-run activated even for latest version

Reducing security risks from open source software

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.