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Security & privacy

Update now! Attackers exploit browser’s ‘critical’ security flaw

When choosing a web browser for daily use, there are a few specific factors that people look for. Naturally, they’ll want a browser that’s fast, lightweight and able to function without slowing down the entire computer. Most importantly, though, users are looking for a browser that’s secure against threats like viruses, spyware and malicious advertisements — all things that can instantly ruin any browsing session.

Today, most browsers are quite secure against common threats. But occasionally, a security flaw will slip through the cracks before developers have a chance to catch it. This can open up computers to a host of nasty scams and malware — putting users’ personal and financial data in grave danger without their knowledge.

Now, one of the most popular browsers on the internet is dealing with its own security hole — one they’re saying is critical enough to demand an immediate update! We have the latest details on this emerging threat, and what you need to do to secure your browser from harm.

Mozilla patches a major Firefox security flaw

We’re big fans of Mozilla Firefox. Unlike many of its competitors, the browser takes great care to preserve user privacy — even blocking things like third-party cookies by default in its latest version.

But no program or company is completely immune to software bugs and security flaws, and Mozilla is no exception. A recent advisory released by the company details a “critical” security issue that affects current Firefox users if they don’t update their browsers. Worse still, a number of bad actors and scammers are already taking advantage of the exploit to harm peoples’ computers.

The issue lies with a flaw in Javascript — a kind of code found in most websites that controls “events” like menus opening. Javascript is also the method behind popup advertisements and banner ads that appear all over the web.

In the Firefox security flaw, an issue with Javascript can allow bad actors to run their own malicious scripts on websites that can forcibly crash, change, or run software through your browser. What’s more, you don’t even need to interact with any of the codes since Javascript automatically runs on a website when it’s opened.

Thankfully, Mozilla is no slouch when it comes to user security and has quickly released a patch to address the issue. Due to the severity of the security flaw, it’s advising every Firefox user to take the time to update their browsers. By removing the flaw from its browser and pushing users to update, Mozilla can hopefully stop the threat from spreading any further.

How can I get the latest version of Mozilla Firefox?

Despite the urgent warning, you might already have it installed on your computer. For critical updates like this one, Mozilla tends to automatically update user’s browsers in the background.

To check if you already have the update installed, you’ll want to navigate to the top of your browser window. On a Windows PC, select Help, then About Firefox. 

On a Mac, click on Firefox in the menu above and select About Firefox. On the next page, you’ll want to make sure the version number is Firefox 67.0.3. This is the most recent edition of the application.

Not everyone, however, has automatic updates enabled. To turn them on, select the Menu button in the upper right corner of the window, then select Options. Once here, select General from the left-hand pane and scroll until you reach the section that reads Firefox Updates. From here, all you’ll need to do is select Automatically install updates and you’re good to go!

If you’d prefer to manually download the latest version of Firefox, you can easily get it from Mozilla’s official website. When you install it to your computer, it should overwrite the previous version — leaving you with the latest, patched edition of the app.

As scary as a security flaw can be, it’s always nice to see when a company cares enough about its users to patch the issue quickly. All that’s left is for the user base to patch their systems so the issue fades into obscurity. While we might advise users to wait on certain updates when they come out, this is one you absolutely do not want to miss!

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