Your Web browser is your portal to the vast expanse of the Internet with its wide range of helpful websites and serious dangers. That means your browser not only needs to display Web pages correctly so you get the best experience, it has to stay strong from hackers trying to break their way on to your computer.
That's why browser makers release regular updates to fix security problems, improve performance and add new features. And a whole batch of updates just arrived for one popular browser.
The browser I'm talking about is Mozilla's Firefox, and it's been updated to version 36. This update actually has a lot of changes in it.
Aren't running Firefox? Click here to find out if your browser of choice is up to date.
The most important part of the update are the fixes for 16 security problems. That includes three critical flaws that could let a hacker crash your browser and reboot it with malicious code in place, or use the updating system to load a malicious file. In other words, you need to update right now.
To update Firefox, click the Settings icon (it's the one in the upper right corner with three horizontal lines) and at the bottom of the menu, click the question mark icon. Then select "About Firefox."
Firefox will automatically check for a new updates. If you see a "36.0" then you're already up to date. Otherwise, you'll need to wait for the update to download and then click the "Restart to update Firefox" button.
When Firefox restarts, you'll see another feature that was added in this version. It's called Firefox Hello and it lets you create video chats with other Firefox users, no extra programs or new online accounts needed.
Simply click the smiley-face Firefox Hello button in the menu bar to start a chat. You'll get a link to send to the person you want to talk to. When they click the link, you'll instantly be chatting in your browser. Simple.
Another update in Firefox 36 is something that doesn't matter right now, but will in the future. It's HTTP/2, which is the next Web standard for, well, everything.
Its goal is to make the browser faster and more secure from the ground up. Click here to learn more about this important new Web standard and how it's going to change the future Internet.
One thing that didn't get into this version of Firefox is an alternative to Adobe's Flash. Click here to learn how you can stay safe from the increasing number of Flash security problems no matter what browser you use.