Mozilla to Firefox users: Ditch crashtastic McAfee plugin
Security FAIL... but is it Mozilla's or McAfee's?
Mozilla is advising Firefox users to disable a McAfee plugin that the open-source browser supplier blames for a high volume of crashes.
McAfee's ScriptScan software causes "stability or security problems", according to Firefox. Users of the software are confronted with a message stating the plugin has been "blocked for your protection".
"Users are strongly encouraged to disable the problematic add-on or plugin, but may choose to continue using it if they accept the risks described," the notice states.
"When Mozilla becomes aware of add-ons, plugins, or other third-party software that seriously compromises Firefox security, stability, or performance and meets certain criteria, the software may be blocked from general use. For more information, please read this support article," it explains.
ScriptScan is a component that comes bundled with McAfee's VirusScan security software. The technology is designed to scan websites for hostile code. Unfortunately ScriptScan does not play well with Firefox. Versions 14.4.0 and below reportedly cause all versions of Firefox, even the latest 7.x release, to crash.
The issue has generated a splattering of comments on McAfee's support forums. The Intel security division is reportedly working with Mozilla in developing a fix. In the meantime, surfers have the choice to either re-enable ScriptScan; rely on McAfee SiteAdvisor or other tools to warn about bad sites; or choose a different browser. The problem appears to be restricted to Firefox.
Recent versions of Firefox, prior to the 7.0 release, were memory hogs that had a tendency to crash all on their own, so it may be that McAfee is only partially to blame for this problem. ®
Firefox sucks a bit
but McAfee software is invariably, wherever and however encountered, an appalling and unconscionable pile of rotting dogshit. I don't think it's too hard to guess where the lion's share of responsibility lies.
John: put your handbag away
Let's deal with some myths & facts shall we.
(i) Firefox was a memory-hog until version 7, i.e. until a couple of weeks ago.
Actually John there have been no major changes to Firefox since Mozilla started their rolling release with Firefox 4 in the spring. Some previous versions of Firefox have suffered from memory leaks on both Windows and Linux but that has been much less of a problem since 3.5 - i.e. a long time ago.
(ii) Firefox has tendency to crash.
Well no actually, if you're judicious about the add-ons that you install it's very robust, even on Windows, has been for a very long time.
(iii) McAfee known for more reliable software than Mozilla.
My first instinct is to helplessly fall about laughing at this. McAfee almost ranks with Norton as a producer of "security" software that is only a notch or two above scareware in the way it tries to terrify lay users into unnecessarily forking out their hard-earned for peace of mind.
In fact Firefox plays nice with hundreds of different add-ons, including a pretty cool one called NoScript that helps to protect from malicious scripts and accidental clicks for free - you may have heard of it. So on balance who is likely to blame for this problem between Firefox and McAfee's ScriptScan? It's pretty obvious, unless you have some ***evidence*** to the contrary, John.
However I'd go further: I reckon most people who genuinely take an interest in the security and reliability of PCs, their own or those of others professionally (guilty!), couldn't give a flying fuck if it is Mozilla's fault in some way. To very badly paraphrase Winston Churchill: after the next update Firefox will still be a great browser, but McAfee will still be a steaming pile of donkey pooh for which there are many better alternatives (which don't have any problem at all playing nicely with Firefox).
Dump Firefox ?
That must be a typo error, surely you meant dump McAfee!
McAfee is after all, only an expensive load of resource hungry rubbish, packed into a very nice looking box.