There are plenty of browser add-ons. I want to know how can I know if these add-ons have good reputation in terms of security? How do I know these are not programs that could harm my PC? Most of the vendors are not house hold names and most of the add-ons are free. What do you suggest I do? Is there a body that certifies these programs in any way? Thanks all.
Checking the versions to keep updated
Mozilla created a project to help people un-puzzle their plugins upgrades -> http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/plugincheck/
But open-sourcing the registry has only partially worked, many older plugins simply are not recognized (even from the likes of Apple, Google, and Netscape).
Stop using plugins:
Numerous plugs, even commmon ones (WebEx and Apple's bundled Mac OSX) plugins have no documentation, no release notes, and no updates).
If you take my previous suggestion (checking for updates via the mozilla checker), you will eventually tire of seeing many grey "?", and realize that even the vastness of the Mozilla community cannot document them, and that the vendors will never register themselves.
Once you start removing old plugins, you will suddenly wonder why don't you remove them all!
I recently upgraded to Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard), and as part of the process, I removed all plugins, even Flash and Java. (As dual mobile user (iOS/Android), I know that life without them is not the end of the world, and I also have one last system I can use to view the missing content).
Life is not that bad without it, and it means I have two less out-of-system software upgrades to maintain.
No, there is currently no central authority on plugins—there isn’t even a complete test suite for HTML5 standards—nor is there likely to be one anytime soon.
There a few things you can do to help keep you browsing safely: