Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Microsoft Hides Firefox Extension In Toolbar Update

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the because-they-can dept.

Firefox 285

Jan writes "As part of its regular Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released an update for its various toolbars, and this update came with more than just documented fixes. The update also installs an add-on for Internet Explorer and an extension for Mozilla Firefox, both without the user's permission."

cancel ×

285 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522680)

1st yes

stop it MS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522692)

MS stop acting like spyware....

Again? (3, Interesting)

tom17 (659054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522706)

Didn't they do this before with a .net update?

Re:Again? (4, Insightful)

ashridah (72567) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522778)

The difference being that that add-in was arguably useful. It enabled click-once in firefox, iirc, which is a fairly handy experience for running small apps over the web. If I recall, Java does the same thing. The problem then was that firefox had no way to distinguish between a version with a flaw, and a version without a flaw, so they had no choice but to temporarily blacklist it (and there was that issue with not being able to disable it due to permissions).

Browser toolbars, however, never strike me as a nice addition to a product without asking.

Re:Again? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522838)

The difference being that that add-in was arguably useful. It enabled click-once in firefox, iirc, which is a fairly handy experience for running small apps over the web. If I recall, Java does the same thing. The problem then was that firefox had no way to distinguish between a version with a flaw, and a version without a flaw, so they had no choice but to temporarily blacklist it (and there was that issue with not being able to disable it due to permissions).

Browser toolbars, however, never strike me as a nice addition to a product without asking.

The update doesn't install a browser toolbar, it updates the browser toolbar for users that already have it installed. Users who haven't installed it won't see this update.

For once the Slashdot summary actually got this correct, and from the original article: "Additional testing determined that the update is only being offered to those with one of the Microsoft toolbars installed,"

Re:Again? (3, Interesting)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522856)

One of. If you have it installed on IE, it installs it on firefox, even if you didn't have the firefox one. Even if you don't even have firefox installed.

Re:Again? (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522972)

So, to use a car analogy, it's like Microsoft is installing a new rooftop on their own car, and if you don't own a car from the other company they just install a new rooftop that just floats in mid-air next to your Microsoft car?

Neat!

Re:Again? (2, Insightful)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523004)

Yeah, and if you do wind up buying another car from the other company, the roof installs itself as soon as you park it in the driveway.

Re:Again? (5, Informative)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522864)

Additional testing determined that the update is only being offered to those with one of the Microsoft toolbars installed

Yes, but irrespective of whether it's installed for IE or Firefox. Just because I have the Live Search Toolbar installed for IE doesn't mean I want it turning up in Firefox unannounced.

Re:Again? (5, Informative)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522890)

Additional testing determined that the update is only being offered to those with one of the Microsoft toolbars installed

Yes, but irrespective of whether it's installed for IE or Firefox. Just because my OEM put the Live Search Toolbar on IE doesn't mean I want it turning up in Firefox unannounced.

fix'd

Re:Again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523370)

"temporarily blacklist it"

It is still blacklisted with no view to be permitted as of yet, AFAIK.

Wow! (0)

Enuratique (993250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522696)

Old news is so exciting!

Re:Wow! (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522734)

Old news is so exciting!

Is it old news, or did MS decide that since only "Firefox geeks" complained about it last time that it's open season to add Firefox extensions without asking?

Re:Wow! (3, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522980)

When you buy and/or install Windows, you explicitly (although in very small print) give Microsoft permission to do exactly this, as far as I recall; it should be in your EULA. I can't say that it worries me a lot - I use Linux.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523078)

You may be using Linux, but are you also using Firefox? Is the extension add-on only for the Windows version, or is it a universal add-on?

Re:Wow! (5, Insightful)

Amanieu (1699220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523216)

I doubt he'll be running MS Update on Linux :P

Re:Wow! (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523322)

Why not? There's a decent chance it will work under Wine [winehq.org] !

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523230)

I'll run Windows Update from Linux and let you know what happens.

Re:Wow! (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523018)

The worst part is that the purpose of the update is to fix a bug in data reporting with their optional spyware program!

In an Internet browser, you specify a homepage that is not a fully qualified URL. However, Windows Live Toolbar, MSN Toolbar, or Bing Bar may not categorize your homepage correctly. Therefore, the homepage reporting may be generated incorrectly for users who select the Help improve our services option when they install these toolbars

g

Re:Wow! (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523024)

I think this is a new, though similar story. The link article was last edited 16 hours ago. I remember something similar a month or two ago though.

yay (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522700)

I like your products, Microsoft...but I still abhor your business practices.

Kinda like Sony, Apple, etc...

Re:yay (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523126)

"I like your products, Microsoft...but I still abhor your business practices."

Not enough to stop using their software, hence not enough to matter.

Re:yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523414)

What do you like about Microsofts products?

Here we go again (-1, Troll)

mahiskali (1410019) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522704)

...cue the generic nerdrage against Microsoft. Not that I'm saying they should be allowed to push updates like that, but what's the harm in some ridiculous search extension being added? Not like it's crippling FF or anything (from what I can see right now).

Re:Here we go again (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522786)

Disclaimer: This is only my opinion, nothing more.

It's the same problem I have with Apple keeping people locked into the Appstore. It's not that the action itself is a big deal, it's the fact that they are actually doing it that's the problem. The consequences of that action is irrelevant; the action itself is bad.

Re:Here we go again (-1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522790)

The consequences of that action are irrelevant

Fixed.

Re:Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523150)

Apple don't update other company's applications, though. MS just did.

Re:Here we go again (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523516)

Apple don't update other company's applications

True, when Apple sees functionality in an App they don't like they just ban the app!

Re:Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523176)

So every time you don't put that disclaimer, may we assume that what you write is 100% objectively factual?

Why do some people have such an inflated sense of their own opinion that they believe it somehow warrants a disclaimer?

Re:Here we go again (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522926)

Not that I'm saying they should be allowed to push updates like that, but what's the harm in some ridiculous search extension being added?

Well, the problem is, nobody knows exactly what it is and why it's there. Given Microsoft's lousy record with internet security, what's to say they haven't inadvertently created a security loophole?

From the looks of it, they're installing toolbars into Firefox. Since they're for Bing and for Search helper, I'm sure they're directing people to their own search engine. Which means they're taking advantage of their control over the OS to meddle with my browser.

And, most importantly, they didn't ask. Since this isn't Microsoft's software, WTF are they doing jamming in add-ons without notifying the user or making it possible to delete it?? When they installed the last .NET extension to my Firefox, I can't delete it -- only Disable it. It's not up to Microsoft to "enhance" my user experience in software that isn't theirs.

Seriously, you have to ask why installing additions into other companies' software without asking the user or allowing them to delete it is just plain wrong? What next, deleting any software which competes with their own offerings?

Re:Here we go again (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523032)

Contact the EU. Seriously, this is just after (in bureaucrat time) they were forced to offer browser choices. Now they're trying to lure people to their search engine to generate ad revenue by abusing the same near-monopoly on desktop OSes.

Not to mention this is a horrible security practice -- force-installing software someone didn't request. This should be prosecuted as unauthorized access to millions of computers.

Re:Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523094)

When they installed the last .NET extension to my Firefox, I can't delete it -- only Disable it.

Of course you can delete it. It's just files on a disk. You can't delete files on a disk?

What you can't do is disable it from inside Firefox. And why is that? Because that's how Firefox was designed.

Re:Here we go again (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523178)

What you can't do is disable it from inside Firefox. And why is that? Because that's how Firefox was designed.

Really? I've got two add-ons with a nice shiny Uninstall button next to them that is enabled should I decide to push it. (Why I would uninstall noscript, I don't know, but it's there).

I also have Java Add-ons and .NET add-ons which have the Uninstall button disabled.

Methinks if Firefox was designed to prevent uninstalling add-ons, there would be no such button.

And, really, unless you know exactly which files to delete and if you can do it safely, deleting the files from the disk isn't really an option.

Re:Here we go again (4, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523132)

Removing the .NET plugin:

del /q "%SystemRoot%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\Windows Presentation Foundation\NPWPF.dll"
reg DELETE HKLM\SOFTWARE\Mozilla\Firefox\Extensions /v {20a82645-c095-46ed-80e3-08825760534b} /f > Nul
del /q %SystemRoot%\System32\dllcache\*.*

I also remove the Media player DRM plugin:
del /q "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player\npdrmv2.dll"
del /q "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player\npwmsdrm.dll"

Re:Here we go again (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523526)

I'm pretty sure it's in their EULA. Try read it sometimes :)

Re:Here we go again (3, Insightful)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523140)

But its not benign in any sense of reality. Think of it this way, for every 1000 lines of code there is an average of 1-1.5 defects even in highly scrutinized Government sponsored "secure" programs. If Microsoft wrote 10k lines of code (conservative I think) that is, given Microsoft's current defect track record, about 12 real defects in that hypothetical extension (I don't know the actual size of the code base). If even one of those defects provides a security vulnerability your system gets hacked. How secure are you? You don't even know its vulnerable, and if you did, you may not even be able to remove it entirely because Microsoft doesn't provide that capability on purpose. Even if you find a way to deactivate it there is still code on your system that might be abused without clicking on the GUI taskbar. Removing these Microsoft 'add-ons' generally requires a knowledgeable person to essentially hack you Firefox/OS installation just to remove it. The real twist to the reality is that they even want Firefox to be unstable and cause you problems, so what is their incentive to make it defect free? They are not going to put much effort into ensuring that a competitors product continues to beat them in the open market. Microsoft likes to win. History itself tells the truth about their true motivations. I won't even go there.

Buy Em Out (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522720)

Microsoft needs to just go ahead and buy out [videosift.com] Mozilla.

Done before... (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522722)

I'm pretty sure this was done at least once before sometime in May in 2009. I was managing a conference and a "debate" about MS doing this broke out because supposedly if you tried to disable the plug-in Firefox would break. If I can find a reference to this I'll post it.

It is just an update to an existing toolbar (-1)

rhvarona (710818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522724)

The patch installs an update to a toolbar that you must have already installed.  The patch is not available if you don't have the browser toolbar already installed.

Re:It is just an update to an existing toolbar (5, Informative)

logjon (1411219) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522804)

No. From TFA:

On one of our Windows systems, we had the Windows Live Toolbar installed for Internet Explorer but not for Firefox. Nevertheless, installing this update added the add-on/extension to both browsers without telling us that it would do so. On our second system, we had the Bing Bar installed for Internet Explorer, but it was disabled. Firefox was not installed. This system already had the update in question, so we decided to install Firefox. Not only was the Bing Bar extension present upon Firefox's first launch, but so was the Search Helper Extension.

Re:It is just an update to an existing toolbar (5, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522920)

The more MS tries to force Bing down everyone's throats, the more determined I am to boycott Bing. It pissed me off so much the day I found that Verizon had signed a deal with MS to make Bing the exclusive (not merely default) search provider on my Blackberry. Of course, I countered by putting google at the top of my bookmarks, but really I shouldn't have to maneuver around microsoft's asshat shenanigans just to use my search provider of choice on my phone (and yes, I resent verizon for that as well).

Plus obviously one has to wonder: "If Bing is so freaking great than why is MS paying to have it force-fed all over? Like all those pop-up ads so many sites have now that resolve to Bing -- and they count those as hits for their search engine, which probably at least quadruples their numbers.

It's inconvenient to dislike MS, because they're everywhere. I'd rather be able to embrace them, I really would. But their behavior is just so objectionable in so many ways it's impossible.

Embrace, extend, extinguish..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523272)

You wish to embrace Microsoft, but find it hard to do so? A suggestion to help you on this, consider actively supporting the WINE project in some fashion. In this way, you can embrace Microsoft products, extend them for use with a Linux based environment, and eventually, extingush the need for for such an invasive OS as Windows has been.

Re:Embrace, extend, extinguish..... (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523540)

That's a nice idea and all, but quite honestly I fail to see any "need" for microsoft products. Other than codecs for wma/wmv (and pirated windurrs in virtualbox for testing and the occasional netflix streaming), I haven't needed any microsoft products in years. The real need is to convince people (and netflix) they don't need microsoft. It's not as if they have any "killer apps" anymore. They're just coasting on the momentum they built by strong-arming the OEMs into making them the only OS available on new PCs.

The only people I can understand thinking they need ms are the gamers, and really that's on them to vote with their dollars and make the game publishers release for more platforms. They don't, for the same reason I don't cancel my netflix membership and tell them it's because of silverlight -- because it's very inconvenient. Though I have sent about a dozen emails telling them the silverlight choice sucks...

Bing is an acronym. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523286)

BING: But... It's not Google!

Re:It is just an update to an existing toolbar (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523538)

According to TFA, a Microsoft spokeshuman didn't even know about the toolbar being forcefully installed:

"The worst part of this issue is that Microsoft does not seem to be aware of it: a Microsoft spokesperson simply pointed us to the aforementioned Microsoft Support page that inaccurately describes the update. We asked the company for an explanation of why the extension was installed and what it does, but have yet to receive a reply."

Re:It is just an update to an existing toolbar (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522810)

Yeah not really much of an issue in my book seeing as I don't have any type of search toolbar installed in any of my browsers (Iron, IE, FF.) Consequently I didn't get some "unwanted sekrit mystery update" when I installed updates Tuesday.

Re:It is just an update to an existing toolbar (4, Informative)

LightningTH (151451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522848)

Except even if the toolbar is disabled it still installs and enables the toolbar in Firefox. It also auto-enables the toolbar upon a new installation of Firefox if Firefox was not previously installed.

Re:It is just an update to an existing toolbar (1)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523202)

I would like to point out, as somebody who has and uses Firefox and does not use the toolbar, that it didn't install on my computer when I updated Windows.

Re:It is just an update to an existing toolbar (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523102)

I didn't get the patch; however, I don't have the browser toolbar installed at all. I am reluctant to install anyone's toolbar because it gives them another point of entry into my privacy. It seems that this time, the paranoia paid off.

Microsoft hides... (5, Funny)

Chameleon Man (1304729) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522738)

Microsoft hides extension in awkward zipper malfunction.

(Sorry, it's one of those mornings)

Re:Microsoft hides... (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523156)

(Sorry, it's one of those mornings)

What, one of those mornings where you wake up, roll out of bed, step on a rusty nail that protrudes from the floorboards, limp to the bathroom, have the cold water stop during your shower so you get scalded, the toilet gets clogged and overflows, the coffeemaker shorts out and starts a small fire in your kitchen, your dog eats something bad and barfs all over your feet, and then you get your penis caught in your zipper?

Wait, that is not really analogous to this update... that kind of morning is more analogous to installing windows in the first place.

Re:Microsoft hides... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523400)

> Wait, that is not really analogous to this update... that kind of morning is more analogous to installing windows in the first place.

no way... at least, not until the mafia guys come to your door asking for extortion money.

A different kind. (0, Offtopic)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522756)

So glad I don't use Firefox anymore. I'm thoroughly enjoying Chrome. And hey, Google does no evil. Right? Right?! I'm just hoping Microsoft doesn't start making ghostly add-ons for Chrome.

Re:A different kind. (2, Funny)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522780)

Well Chrome does all kinds of evil, it is just better at hiding it.

Re:A different kind. (5, Informative)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522870)

no evil? how about deliberatly holding back on the browser hooks and infrastructure to allow for comprehensive robust adblock/scriptblock/etc ad-ons, due to such things being completely against their business model that is based on supplying advertisements?

I suppose that's not "evil", bit it is a pretty damn big roadblock to me adopting chrome over FF.

Re:A different kind. (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523034)

I agree. I think it's no coincidence that real content blocking isn't available in Chrome. The speed advantage of the browser itself is more than negated by the slowness induced by ads that can't be blocked, so it simply cannot replace FF or Opera on my computer.

Re:A different kind. (2, Interesting)

Jer (18391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522960)

How can you be running a browser without something like NoScript these days? It's almost as bad as running a Windows machine without anti-virus software.

I tried Chrome for a while, but the "work around" for the lack of NoScript was just annoying. It certainly isn't as robust as I'm used to with NoScript. So I barely use it anymore. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone until a good NoScript solution gets worked into the system.

Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522774)

Why the hell hasn't Mozilla made it easy to remove plugins from Firefox? You have to Google solutions to find out how to remove Microsoft (and in some cases old Java) shit.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522978)

Why the hell hasn't Mozilla made it easy to remove plugins from Firefox? You have to Google solutions to find out how to remove Microsoft (and in some cases old Java) shit.

Mozilla has -- there's supposed to be an Uninstall button next to them.

Unfortunately, Microsoft didn't allow the Uninstall button to work, and you could only Disable. This is not a Mozilla problem in not providing a mechanism -- this is Microsoft and Sun making shitty add-ons.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (5, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523162)

No it's Mozilla's problem. They should make it impossible for anyone to install plugins/extensions without user interaction and further more they should make it impossible for the uninstall button to be disabled. Have a damn "delete plugin dlls" button if nothing else damn it!

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (3, Informative)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523446)

They should make it impossible for anyone to install plugins/extensions without user interaction

Normally you're prompted to install extensions, and add-ons are usually by way of installer. The problem here is that the user DID interact - at some point they opted to receive an update from Microsoft. MS is COMPLETELY at fault here as they slipped a DLL into a folder where Firefox would find it and go "Geez, thats an add-on!" No install necessary in FF, just put the extension in the right place and bingo!

As far as not being able to uninstall it...if its a "plugin" like Shockwave or Flash, you should note that the ability to Disable/Enable ONLY is there because any user can and should have access to that plugin. Extensions, on the other hand, should have the ability to be uninstalled unless they fall into this "any user could and probably wants" this extension category.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (1)

laron (102608) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523164)

IMHO it is a flaw in the way FF handles extensions, if an extension can protect itself from being uninstalled.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523174)

(different AC here, not that you can prove it, just have to take my word for it I suppose)

One could argue that Mozilla could have simply made it so that every add-on has an Uninstall button whether or not those who developed the add-on wanted it to have one or not. That way any add-on could be easily removed even if it did not have a button through incompetence or design.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523246)

Why the hell hasn't Mozilla made it easy to remove plugins from Firefox? You have to Google solutions to find out how to remove Microsoft (and in some cases old Java) shit.

Mozilla has -- there's supposed to be an Uninstall button next to them.

Unfortunately, Microsoft didn't allow the Uninstall button to work, and you could only Disable. This is not a Mozilla problem in not providing a mechanism -- this is Microsoft and Sun making shitty add-ons.

Don't confuse "extensions" with "plugins". In Firefox, an extension is something that is installed from within Firefox, and it can be enabled/disabled or removed entirely from within Firefox. Conversely, a plugin is a completely different mechanism that is designed to allow external applications to add features to Firefox without even having to have Firefox running. It is added from outside Firefox, and it is removed from outside Firefox. Mozilla designed this system so that Firefox has no control over it.

In the previous case of the .NET update, it was installing a plugin, so it was by Mozilla's design that you can't remove it using the Firefox Add-On dialog. However, in this case, they're installing an extension, so it is supposed to be removable. If it's not, then that is still Mozilla's fault. It should not be possible for an extension to be installed without Firefox's knowledge, and it should not be possible for an extension to disable its "Remove" button. If that is what has really happened, then Firefox's extension mechanism is broken.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523442)

So ... Mozilla bad, Microsoft good? WTF?

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (4, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523086)

The problem is these add-ons (they are not plugins) aren't installed with user privileges, but admin privileges. How would you have Mozilla fix this? By magically circumventing the permissions system in Windows?

Perhaps MS hopes that people will place the blame on Mozilla as you have done.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (2, Funny)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523386)

The problem is these add-ons aren't installed with user privileges, but admin privileges. How would you have Mozilla fix this?

Easy! FF needed these same admin privileges to be installed at some point; programs routinely ask for elevation, and FF is just trying to play 'usermode' too much, without a general picture of general systems management. Put the now-standard API call that "elevates" my rights to do sys admin tasks in Windows, and presto.

By magically circumventing the permissions system in Windows?

If a virus can "magically circumvent permissions", to root a Windows machine just because the writers learn the Windows API better, then a legal program ain't trying hard enough. After all, the Windows API does allow for elevation in two ways that I know of. 1) Ask the user for a PW per change 2) Or, register a daemon at install time that runs without limitations, like Firewalls and Antispyware programs do.

Re:Plugin uninstaller for Firefox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523504)

Obviously blaming Mozilla is blaming a victim, but the thing is Mozilla is more likely to actually DO something about it than Microsoft.

It seems that Mozilla should be able to make all extensions 'uninstallable' even if that will bring up the UAC.

I smell a loophole that puts MS in a bad spot... (0)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522802)

My XP installation is quite old. So old in fact I was a minor when I clicked the "I agree" on the EULA. The EULA is a contract, which cannot be legally entered into by a minor in the good ol US of A, voiding the contract. Since MS never got permission to install this add on to my computer, could I go after them for unauthorized access to my system?

Re:I smell a loophole that puts MS in a bad spot.. (1)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522836)

pretty sure that means you're not using a legally authorized version of windows, since you were not leagally able to authorize the installation due to not being able to sign the licensing agreement.

Re:I smell a loophole that puts MS in a bad spot.. (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523112)

since you were not leagally able to authorize the installation due to not being able to sign the licensing agreement.

Did you sign your Windows licensing agreement? I doubt it.

A EULA is not a contract.

Re:I smell a loophole that puts MS in a bad spot.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32522858)

I hope someone does. Regardless of intention, updating other manufacturers' software without notification or approval should be considered a crime. Think about it this way: If you wrote a plugin that updated Word from time to time with an additional toolbar, do you think Microsoft would be upset?

I will be delaying Microsoft software approvals and suggesting non-Microsoft equivalents in my company because of tricks like this. They're totally out of control.

Re:I smell a loophole that puts MS in a bad spot.. (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522888)

You could if you weren't a minor.
But you are so you can't.

Gad... rather than look for a quick buck... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523342)

Why don't you take that energy and look for an alternative?

They exist.

FIRE (0, Troll)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522854)

FIRE FIRE FIRE!!!!!

/. Drinking Game (4, Funny)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522884)

My friend and I played a drinking game to /. once. One person clicks on a story involving Microsoft or Apple or Linux or polotics and the other person has to take a drink for every bullsh*t post about "M$" or Apple's App Store or Android FTW and everything else completely unrelated to what the actual post is about. Let me just say, don't attempt this in the morning...


ps. Slashdot community, I love you all but some days you make me pull my hair out. :)

Re:/. Drinking Game (1)

rotorbudd (1242864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523056)

Oh yea, a fork of the old Hi Bob Drinking Game.

Didn't Change My Firefox (5, Insightful)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522886)

I don't have no steenking Bing searchbar in my Firefox browser (no searchbars at all, in fact). The new extension did NOT show up in my Firefox addons, although I received my Windows updates yesterday.

So I'm not affected directly. But, as many others have said, I do NOT appreciate Microsoft changing ANYTHING in my computer without my specific, informed permission. Okay, they can change their own OS if necessary (since they usually accept responsibility for disasters that occur). But leave MY programs the hell alone!

Re:Didn't Change My Firefox (4, Funny)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522936)

Sonny, I remember the days when we had to manually type in http://www.altavista.com/ [altavista.com] or http://www.lycos.com/ [lycos.com] into our browsers to get to a search engine. We had to use our keyboards and everything! Then the search engine took a long time and returned bad results... and we liked it!

These newfangled search bars, they're the devil's work I tell ya.

Re:Didn't Change My Firefox (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523430)

Ahem.

http://altavista.digital.com

Re:Didn't Change My Firefox (3, Funny)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523496)

Then the search engine took a long time and returned bad results...

But on the plus side, you got a lot more links to random pr0n sites. Apparently.

Isn't this... (1)

Que914 (1042204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522898)

A textbook example of what our anti-trust laws are supposed to address a company using it's monopoly in one market (OS) to trying and gain an advantage in another market (search).

Sigh...

Windows Practices make me angry... (2, Interesting)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522914)

I have two windows, a netbook with windows 7, and a XP, and the general malpractices of the software that this OS use is really anoying. Stuff like the printer driver creates a resident program (HP something) on the toolbar. Other applications after running only once, set itself to start at restart. WTF LOL!?. How is that possible? a OS sould ask user permission with something like sudo for setting apps to auto-run at restart. All these apps that start and are doing nothing at all make the start very long, and take screen space.
So.. is bad enough wen people like HP, Impulse or others do this, but.. Microsoft? In a way, is like Microsoft is sanctioning this evil practice thenselves.

Re:Windows Practices make me angry... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523118)

The HP thing is actually optional. You can install just the driver or the driver and all the add-ons. The HP web site and every HP driver CD I've used allow installing just the drivers.

The add-ons offer things like ink level updates, scanning across the network (if you have a multi-function), mapping the card reader on your HP printer as a drive on your desktop system (even across the network), and some fax/image fixup/color matching/misc. other document-related software.

HP does charge a metric shit-ton of cash for their inks, with the Vivera six-color system being somewhat more reasonable than some shitty tri-color single cartridge. They don't force you to install things you don't want, though.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this... (2, Insightful)

dejanc (1528235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522930)

My Ubuntu installation at work installed a Firefox extension by default. It also made numerous modifications to packages installed on my computer - from bash to Xorg to Gnome. Both legal and morally acceptable.

Same thing is with Microsoft, with the only difference being that there is no assumed connection between Windows and Firefox (Microsoft doesn't package Firefox)

Your OS will tamper with the rest of your machine. The question is: do you trust your operating system with your computer?

Re:There is nothing inherently wrong with this... (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523066)

Same thing is with Microsoft, with the only difference being that there is no assumed connection between Windows and Firefox (Microsoft doesn't package Firefox)

It is not the same difference. All those updated packages came with the distribution.

This is more like installing Opera on your Ubuntu system and Canonical adding plugins and changing the default behavior without your permission? (Hint, Opera isn't in the default repositories).

Enjoy,

Oh get a sense of perspective FFS (0, Flamebait)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 4 years ago | (#32522994)

Its a friggin browser extension. We're not talking a Sony rootkit here!

I'm no MS fan but this constant MS bashing from self righteous geeks who smell an easy target gets tedious after a while.

If you really hate MS so much why are you running Windows in the first place to get upset about it? Install Ubuntu
or buy a Mac and shut up.

Re:Oh get a sense of perspective FFS (1, Interesting)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523138)

So, you would have no problem with me modifying software on your computer without your consent or knowledge? I'll be there directly and modify the way most of your software works in some way or another.

You'll have no problem with that at all, right? It's just software, right?

Re:Oh get a sense of perspective FFS (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523200)

It is something you didn't ask for, that was installed as a plugin to a program that is not owned by Microsoft. It's about the principle!

Re:Oh get a sense of perspective FFS (1)

Vandilzer (122962) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523380)

Let me put on my tin foil hat here for a second...

1) Unknown extension
2) Online transactions (internet banking, e-bay, amazon, etc...)

This my not be a system rootkit but it has just as much potential to do just as much damage. As a vehicle to run any number of thing or provide an entry point to a system for something far more nefarious...

And I do use Ubuntu, but most of the world uses Windows, whether it be by societal force or inheritance.

Vandilzer...
Kari: There are a lot of things we really don't want you to try at home!
Tory: Yes, try it at your neighbor's house.

Re:Oh get a sense of perspective FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523482)

I AM running Ubuntu, you insensitive clod!

This is news? (0, Troll)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523088)

This is a point of concern? Oh noes!!!! They didn't get the users approval!!!! From now on I want to be asked line by line of machine code whether or not I want it installed or not!

Ubuntu isn't much better (3, Interesting)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523090)

Every time ubuntu updates firefox, it slams it's own list of search engines into my browser, and I have to yet again remove them. Why would a system update muck with personal settings like that?

Re:Ubuntu isn't much better (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523180)

<quote><p>Every time ubuntu updates firefox, it slams it's own list of search engines into my browser, and I have to yet again remove them. Why would a system update muck with personal settings like that?</p></quote>

Who gives a shit about users anyway?

Rogue Corporate Mentality Revealed... (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523134)

In the U.S. there has emerged a business model that uses the math of, "it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission." Personally, I'm getting more "bang for the buck" by going to other businesses and asking, "how much?"

This shit has to stop (4, Insightful)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523158)

Dear Mozilla developers, please disable by default *all* extensions except:

  1. the ones that are manually installed by the user using the standard UI inside Firefox;
  2. the ones that are manually enabled by the user using a menu switch inside Firefox for EACH externally installed extension (do NOT show a confirmation dialog if a new extension appears out of nowhere: users always click "yes").

The power to choose what to install in their browsers must reside only in the hands of the users.

If a vendor actively tries to circumvent this new protection mechanism, permanently blacklist ALL its extensions, plugins and whatnot. Report them to antivirus vendors as malware.

It's not the first time this happens and it actively damages users, with slower browsing experience, less screen space for actual content, huge undisclosed privacy and security breaches (you can BET they exists, even if they are not made public).

This shit has to stop.

P.S. to the users of Microsoft products: please any time you can, try to avoid this company, you're not their customer, you're their victim. There are other software vendors that respect you much more than that.

Re:This shit has to stop (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523452)

Dear Mozilla developers, please disable by default *all* extensions except:

1. the ones that are manually installed by the user using the standard UI inside Firefox;
2. the ones that are manually enabled by the user using a menu switch inside Firefox for EACH externally installed extension (do NOT show a confirmation dialog if a new extension appears out of nowhere: users always click "yes").

The power to choose what to install in their browsers must reside only in the hands of the users.

Ah, but what if sysadmins want their users to - by default - be using adblock or noscript?

Search Enhancement Pack (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32523204)

The first thing I think of when I see that is; spyware. The enhancement is probably only to their benefit, not yours.

Didn't happen on my systems. Anyone else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32523382)

Both of my systems updated yesterday and neither received this toolbar or extension. One system is XP, the other is 7.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?