Mozilla has introduced a free service that checks for known buggy or insecure versions of plug-ins for various popular web browsers

The service checks the browser plug-ins on Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, Safari and Firefox. The service has been rolled out to all major browsers after initially being rolled out for Firefox alone back in January this year.

The service promises to check these plug-ins for you, and advise you of when it is time to update. Johnathan Nightingale, director of Firefox development, claimed that in the months since the page was deployed, it had seen over 60 per cent of Adobe Flash users with the most recent version, with the number growing to more than 75 per cent if the second most recent update is included.

He said: “We believe that plug-in safety is an issue for the web as a whole, so while our initial efforts focused on building a page that would work for Firefox users, the team has since expanded plug-in check coverage to work with Safari 4, Chrome 4 and Opera 10.5.

“We have added support for Internet Explorer 7 and 8 for the most popular plug-ins, as well, but since IE requires specific code to be written for each plug-in it will take us a little longer to get to full coverage.

“This has been a phenomenal amount of work to develop and test, and the matrix of browser, plug-in and OS grows very quickly.”

The new page will check for plug-ins such as Apple's QuickTime and Microsoft's Silverlight multimedia players, Adobe's Acrobat reader and Flash plug-ins plus others for Firefox. For IE8, the page scans for Silverlight, Windows Media Player, Flash and QuickTime.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “It's great that Mozilla has extended its service to offer an additional security check for users of other browsers. Hopefully it will encourage more computer users to keep their systems patched, and make life more difficult for hackers.”