Skip to comments.Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension
Posted on 06/01/2009 5:39:51 AM PDT by ShadowAce
A routine security update for a Microsoft Windows component installed on tens of millions of computers has quietly installed an extra add-on for an untold number of users surfing the Web with Mozilla's Firefox Web browser.
Earlier this year, Microsoft shipped a bundle of updates known as a "service pack" for a programming platform called the Microsoft .NET Framework, which Microsoft and plenty of third-party developers use to run a variety of interactive programs on Windows.
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Having earlier checked to see whether the service pack had caused any widespread problems or interfered with third-party programs -- and not finding any that warranted waving readers away from this update -- I told readers not to worry and to go ahead and install it.
I'm here to report a small side effect from installing this service pack that I was not aware of until just a few days ago: Apparently, the .NET update automatically installs its own Firefox add-on that is difficult -- if not dangerous -- to remove, once installed.
Annoyances.org, which lists various aspects of Windows that are, well, annoying, says "this update adds to Firefox one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer: the ability for Web sites to easily and quietly install software on your PC."
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The trouble is, Microsoft has disabled the "uninstall" button on the extension. What's more, Microsoft tells us that the only way to get rid of this thing is to modify the Windows registry, an exercise that -- if done imprecisely -- can cause Windows systems to fail to boot up.
(Excerpt) Read more at voices.washingtonpost.com ...
Why am I both pi$$ed off and not surprised???
I’ve had trouble with Firefox freezing for a few seconds at a time while pages are loading and now I wonder if these two things are connected?
I have no evidence this unwelcome add-on is guilty but it sure adds yet another variable to determining what the heck’s going on.
I turned off my automatic update after last year on April 14, when that a Windows update on one of our computers interrupted the functioning of our tax preparation software. (we are a CPA firm). Intuit fixed the problem on the computer, and subsequently let us know that the update was also reported to be interfering with Quickbooks. The timing of the problem, needless to say, caused us a bit of anxiety.
Son of a @#$%&!
It does have a disable button.
That's good to hear. I haven't installed this update yet on my work computer (I have no windows machines at home), so I haven't been able to verify this.
My OS has been slowly falling apart ever since I had to install IE7. I’m getting 4 or 5 freeze ups a day.
Me too. I wonder. I can't find this in my add-ons list.
My IE has not frozen since I installed IE8. IE7 did periodically freeze up on me in both xp and vista.
Whoops! My bad. It’s in the Extensions folder and it HAS a disable button. I have disabled it and we shall see.
I'm tired of change for the sake of change, stuff that doesn't improve anything.
Bump for home reading and repairs.
Well, I'm so on the ball I didn't even notice it when it was installed but, looking at the add-ons, there it is in all its microsoft glory. And it does have a disable button so that, at least, is a good thing. :0)
MICROSLOP STRIKES AGAIN.
To every other software company in the universe, updates are to add features and fix bugs. To MS, updates are for adding bugs and calling them features.
Uh, I checked on my 64 bit Windows 7 installation of Firefox and there it was, complete with a disable button and a delete button. I deleted it, restarted FF and it’s gone.
What’s the problem? XP? 32 bit versions? I don’t get it.
I wonder if you can uninstall Firefox, then reinstall it, without the extension.
I switched to Safari a few months ago and I find it’s much faster.
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