Mozilla Firefox 12: No More Update Notifications

By | Apr 30, 2012

Mozilla has released the latest version of their open web browser Firefox. The biggest pro (and con) to Firefox 12 is its silent updates. Unlike former versions of the browser, this latest incarnation automatically updates itself without sending you a notification. No longer does a user need to agree to installation, wait for the update to download, and then install. The entire process now occurs in the background.

According to CNET, this silent updating means that if a security patch is released, the computer's security will not depend on whether or not the users keeps up with their updates. This could be beneficial to IT in a midsize business where "bring your own device" (BYOD) is allowed. One of the biggest worries for IT administrators is that employees aren't staying current with updates and patches on their personal devices. Hackers love using vulnerabilities in applications and operating systems as a way to spread malware. Ignoring updates not only puts the device at risk but could potentially be bad for the entire enterprises network. Silent updates eliminates this potential disaster as long as everyone is using Firefox as a go-to browser.

That said, in an article on PCWorld from November 2011, Philip Lieberman, the founder and president of Lieberman Software, proposes that silent updates could actually be a risk for enterprises. IT security systems have to be reconfigured to allow the background updates, and this reconfiguring could give hackers "backdoor access" to install malware on employee's computers. While food for thought, it shouldn't be a deterrent for IT administrators at a midsize business. Hackers want more bang for their buck when it comes to malware. Targeting a single midsize business security system isn't going reap them the same rewards as exploiting a vulnerability in Java. The likelihood that an employee's non-updated personal device spreads malware is much more likely than a single backdoor hit.

As with anything though, Firefox 12 doesn't come without a few snags. The Mozilla website reports four known issues with the new version of the browser. These include the following:

  • The browser will crash if you try to start it with a locked profile;
  • Gmail users may see some slowness when scrolling through the main window;
  • Using Windows Microsoft's System Restore right after updating Firefox may hinder future Firefox updates.

These glitches are minor, and considering Mozilla puts out a new version of Firefox about every three months, they will most likely be resolved by July when the next version of the browser is due out.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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