Yes, plugins like Silverlight, Flash, and Java load and execute programs without asking your permission. Because of that, and security holes that could let the programs do malicious things, keeping an updated version of these plugins can greatly improve security on your system.
Updating the plugins is fairly easy as they typically let you know when they are out of date and offer you an easy upgrade option. Just keep an eye out for the notifications on the system tray by the clock in the lower right hand corner of your screen.
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