Feeds

Firefox users flip out over sneak MS add-on

Silent, but deadly annoying

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Firefox fans are up in arms after a recent Microsoft software update silently installed a Firefox extension that is difficult to remove.

Users agreeing to install a service pack for the .NET Framework (NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1) through Windows update were also pushed a Firefox add-on that is potentially difficult to remove once applied. This add-on - Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant - enables .NET apps to be installed with one click.

Annoyances.org, a Windows gripes site, reports that the update slaps IE-style behaviour on Firefox users, specifically the "ability for Web sites to easily and quietly install software on your PC".

Many Mozilla users might take umbrage to that in principle, even though there's no evidence of attacks in practice; but simply uninstalling early versions of the unwanted extra via Firefox's handy Add-ons interface is not possible because the uninstall button is disabled. This is because the update installs itself for all users of a machine, while the Firefox GUI only manages add-ons for a single profile at a time.

Users have to open up the bonnet of their PC and change settings in RegEdit to remove the potentially unwanted add-on.

Microsoft updated the extension so that it worked on a per-user basis through an update to the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant issued last month. This software tweak makes the add-on easier to remove.

The original update came out in February, but the behaviour passed the media by before it was picked up in stories by the Washington Post (here), Slashdot and elsewhere over the weekend.

That such tomfoolery could have lain largely unnoticed for so long raises question about whether other Microsoft updates of the past might also have fiddled around with Firefox settings. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.