Feeds

Firefox blocks and backtracks on 'insecure' MS add-ons

Plug-in peril confusion

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Mozilla disabled two Microsoft developed Firefox add-ons over the weekend after deciding the applications posed a security risk. It has since revised its safety assessment and set about removing the plugins from its blacklist.

The Microsoft Framework 1.1 Assistant FireFox extension and Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation Firefox plugin were both branded as unstable and consigned to application limbo on Friday. Firefox fans who had the plug-ins installed received a pop-up notice explaining that "unstable or insecure add-ons" have been disabled, the Washington Post reports.

A patch for Microsoft .NET published in May installed both the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant and Windows Presentation Foundation plug-ins onto Firefox. This installation happened without the informed consent of Mozilla users and, worse still, was difficult to undo without editing the Windows Registry.

Redmond responded to the issue by publishing a simple tool to remove Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant. Last week concerns emerged the component could be used to launch security attacks against Firefox users.

The potential issue emerged shortly after Microsoft published a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer as part of a bumper patch batch last week. Acting over concerns that Firefox users who were late in applying this patch might be exposed to attack, Mozilla applied changes to neuter both the Windows Presentation and Microsoft Framework 1.1 Assistant plugins.

Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, explained Mozilla's intervention in a blog posting last Friday.

"Because of the difficulties some users have had entirely removing the add-on, and because of the severity of the risk it represents if not disabled, we contacted Microsoft today to indicate that we were looking to disable the extension and plugin for all users via our blocklisting mechanism. Microsoft agreed with the plan, and we put the blocklist entry live immediately."

However, it subsequently emerged that the Microsoft Framework Assistant add-on poses no threat to Firefox users. Mozilla is in the process of removing both components from its blocklist, as explained in Shaver's latest post here. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.