Feeds

Microsoft sneaks Firefox add-on into Patch Tuesday update

Bing there it is (again)

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft has silently slipped a Firefox extension onto user machines via an automatic software update. Again.

This week, as part of its regular Patch Tuesday, Redmond released an update for its various browser toolbars, and as Ars Technica noticed, this update also installed an entire add-on for Internet Explorer and an extension for Mozilla Firefox – without asking users. Ars was unable to identify the installs, but Microsoft now tells The Reg that the update was installing the latest version of its Bing toolbar on machines that were running the older Windows Live Toolbar or MSN Toolbar.

The company says it has now, um, updated the update, and the silent toolbar install no longer occurs. The company calls the silent install "a bug."

"We discovered a bug in the latest update that was installing the Firefox extension for users with the Windows Live Toolbar and MSN Toolbar (specifically people who have not upgraded to the latest version of the Bing Bar)," the company tells us. "We fixed the update so that going forward folks who still have only the older Windows Live Toolbar or MSN Toolbar will not see this behavior anymore."

The company apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Microsoft says that the update was supposed to include only its Search Enhancement Pack, a shared component used by the Windows Live Toolbar, MSN Toolbar, and Bing Bar. The Pack, the company says, enables certain toolbar features, such as the search suggestions drop down. The update was originally tagged with the Search Enhancement Pack label, but it also installed the Bing toolbar on certain machines.

The update was marked "important," not "optional." And Firefox users at MozillaZone weren't too happy about the silent extension install. "I am still annoyed that Microsoft thinks it is ok to arbitrarily tack on something to my FF browser WITHOUT asking, and worst of all, disabling the Uninstall button! Why do they keep doing stupid things like that?!" says one posted.

Users were similarly peeved a year ago, when a service pack for the .NET Framework silently pushed a Firefox add-on. This add-on - Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant - enabled .NET apps to be installed with one click. It also shipped with a disabled uninstall button. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.