Mozilla has equipped the latest iteration of its popular Firefox browser with a “crash protection” shield to guard against unstable third-party plugins.

“Release 3.6.4 provides…protection for Windows and Linux users by isolating third-party plugins when they crash,” explained Mozilla developer Mike Beltzner.

“Results from our beta testing show Firefox 3.6.4 will significantly reduce the number of [browser] crashes experienced by users who are watching online videos or playing games. When a plugin crashes or freezes while using Firefox, users can enjoy uninterrupted browsing by simply refreshing the page.”

Beltzner emphasized that third-party plugins provided “important functionality” in many of today’s websites.

However, he conceded that such plugins could “lead to problems” for users as they browse.

“With the ability to automatically alert users when they have out of date plugins, and now crash protection, Firefox 3.6.4 allows users to experience all the content they love without any of the hassles.

“At this time Firefox offers crash protection for Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight on Windows and Linux computers. Support for other plugins and operating systems will become available in a future Firefox release.”