Security – Disabling Specific Opera Plug-ins

Just a quick note on plug-ins in the Opera web browser.

As many Opera users will know, you can disable plug-ins completely, or have them disabled until you click them. (It’s not perfect – JavaScript based checks for Flash tend to fail and then there’s nothing loaded on which to use that click.)

Numerous programs seem compelled to install browser plug-ins these days, and the more there are, the more likely there is to be a maliciously exploitable bug.

WhatsMyIP.org has a nice page giving you details about your browser, including plug-ins – if your browser is anything like mine when they’re all enabled, there’ll be a surprisingly long list.

Quite honestly, you probably don’t even need most of these plugins available. I prefer not to have plug-ins opening documents when it’s both more secure and usable to have them open in their associated programs. The only one I leave enabled is Flash, and even then I only let it load when I say so.

I disable those I’m unlikely to need most of the time. There’s the good old ‘delete the files’ way, which is unquestionably effective (I’d hazard there’s also some registry keys), or the slightly neater disable via the browser way – which makes it easy to re-enable them if you find you suddenly need a Java applet or so to run.

Disabling Plug-ins
Luckily, Opera has a hidden but simple way to disable any plug-ins you’d like. You’ll need to open up a new tab or window, and using the address bar or this link, go to opera:plugins (no http).

From there you should see something like this:

You can click Enable/Disable to toggle each plug-in on/off. Disabled plug-ins fade to grey. I’ll have to leave it to you to decide which plug-ins you need/desire active though.

And there y’are, done.

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