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Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension

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posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 08:18 AM
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Hi all, came across this little article Microsoft Update Quietly Installs Firefox Extension and thought I'd share since I haven't seen this posted here.


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.

Source


The extension. Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant.
It adds ClickOnce support and the ability to report installed .NET Framework versions to the web server.

Great, so Firefox will send info about my software to a web server without me knowing about it.

According to annoyances.org

This update adds to Firefox one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer: the ability for websites to easily and quietly install software on your PC. Since this design flaw is one of the reasons you may've originally chosen to abandon IE in favor of a safer browser like Firefox, you may wish to remove this extension with all due haste.

Unfortunately, Microsoft in their infinite wisdom has taken steps to make the removal of this extension particularly difficult - open the Add-ons window in Firefox, and you'll notice the Uninstall button next to their extension is grayed out! Their reasoning, according to Microsoft blogger Brad Abrams, is that the extension needed "support at the machine level in order to enable the feature for all users on the machine," which, of course, is precisely the reason this add-on is bad news for all Firefox users.

Here's the bafflingly-convoluted procedure required to remove this garbage from Firefox:

source


Is it ethical for Microsoft to install software that affects non-microsoft products without your permission?

Makes me wonder what else M$ is installing on our computers without our knowledge.




posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 08:43 AM
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Thanks for the post. I use Linux, so I don't have these issues. My hubby runs off windows though, so I will have to let him know about this.



posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 08:50 AM
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1. Open Registry Editor (type regedit in the Start menu Search box in Vista/Windows 7, or in XP's Run window).

2. Expand the branches to the following key: * On 32-bit systems: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Mozilla \ Firefox \ Extensions * On x64 systems: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Wow6432Node \ Mozilla \ Firefox \ Extensions

3. Delete the value named [20a82645-c095-46ed-80e3-08825760534b] from the right pane.

4. Close the Registry Editor when you're done.

5. Open a new Firefox window, and in the address bar, type about:config and press Enter.

6. Type microsoftdotnet in the Filter field to quickly find the general.useragent.extra.microsoftdotnet setting.

7. Right-click general.useragent.extra.microsoftdotnet and select Reset.

8. Restart Firefox.

9. Open Windows Explorer, and navigate to %SYSTEMDRIVE%\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\Windows Presentation Foundation.

10. Delete the DotNetAssistantExtension folder entirely.

11. Open the Add-ons window in Firefox to confirm that the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant extension has been removed.


To me this does seem like genuine advice... But could someone a little more knowledgeable than me give it a once over just to see that I won't be opening up a huge back door or something.

edit: This looks very much like the addon they are talking about... Look the uninstal option seems to be available for me to use
- I know I did not install that though, so now I know I don't want it there.



[edit on 2/6/2009 by Now_Then]



posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 09:51 AM
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reply to post by Now_Then
 


Looks like Microsoft has already updated the extension. I noticed on your screencap yours is v1.1, in the linked article in op it's only v1.0. I guess Microsoft has already addressed the uninstall problem.

I think Microsoft should of published their FF extension on Mozilla's site instead of sneaking it through ms-updates. Or at very least they should ask before interfering with non-M$ software.

reply to post by KaginD
 


Been thinking about a linux / windows dual-boot setup so I can still play my games, though it sounds like a bit of a hassle.



posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 10:45 AM
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reply to post by yizzel
 



Been thinking about a linux / windows dual-boot setup so I can still play my games, though it sounds like a bit of a hassle.


At least with Ubuntu [and it's derivites like Kubuntu], installing alongside Windows is no trouble at all.

One way is to install ubuntu inside windows. I don't recommened that. The other is to set up a separate paritition, which, when you go to install ubuntu, there is an opintion for that. It's called "guided partition" or something like that. Then you just move the little bar to the left and right until you have as much/little space you want with Windows.

Ubuntu Homepage
Ubuntu Help Forums

 

I checked my add-ons and I don't have this extension. Perhaps they only gave it to people in America? Yizzel, are you saying that the extension can't be uninstalled now, after it's update? What a sneaky game! I've never heard of a Firefox extension not being able to be uninstalled [via the UI anyway.] I'm sure that one could go into the add-ons folder and delete that little guy. I've had to do that a few times with extensions that I uninstalled, but they didn't uninstall all the way.



posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 11:23 AM
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reply to post by octotom
 


Kewl, thanks for the linux info & links. Will look in to it...

"Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant v1.0" can't be uninstalled from FF's add-on UI.
Apparently you have to edit stuff in the Windows Registry to remove it. Whatta pain...



posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by yizzel
reply to post by octotom
 


Kewl, thanks for the linux info & links. Will look in to it...

"Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant v1.0" can't be uninstalled from FF's add-on UI.
Apparently you have to edit stuff in the Windows Registry to remove it. Whatta pain...


Look for "live CD". That will enable you to try linux out without actually installing it.



posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 12:08 PM
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jerks, have don this on purpose to screw with firefox, i think firefox should take action against MS for making firefox less safe



posted on Jun, 3 2009 @ 02:26 PM
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I noticed this had installed itself on my computers after updating them a week or two ago, Firefox seemed to be working a lot slower than previously so I checked my addons and found this little monster. I just disabled the add on and Firefox was back up to speed again. I've left it on but disabled and everything seems ok.

Edited to add, when I get time I'm going to uninstall Firefox and do a new install from scratch. This should clear this little sucker out altogether.

[edit on 3-6-2009 by yellowbeard]



posted on Jun, 3 2009 @ 09:16 PM
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Thank you for this! It's amazing the stupid, invasive things M$ will go through to get information on their customers, without letting them know, even installing things into software that's NOT THEIRS!



posted on Jun, 5 2009 @ 09:46 AM
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Originally posted by yellowbeard
when I get time I'm going to uninstall Firefox and do a new install from scratch. This should clear this little sucker out altogether.


Yeah that will work until Microsoft decides to roll out another update.

Now i understand why some people refuse to install MS updates, and there I was thinking they were just lazy. Seriously though, keeping windows updated is probably important. Just got to keep an eye on what else gets updated.

edit to add:

reply to post by badmedia
 


Live CD is the way to go. Having a look on distrowatch.com I'm sure I'll find something there, thanks

[edit on 5-6-2009 by yizzel]



posted on Jun, 5 2009 @ 09:55 AM
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This is precisely why I DO NOT download any Microsoft updates. This is exactly why I quit doing so for years and have asked others to ignore Microsoft as well.

They basically tell you that these are just standard security updates and bug-fixes, etc. But the truth is that its malicious, takes too much space, and although I have no proof, but I wouldnt put it past MS throwing in spyware in the mix every now and then.

Ask yourself, why would they interfere with Firefox? - everything works fine as it is. Obvious subterfuge is you ask me.

To the OP, SnF from me - thanks for the important info


Regards,

[edit on 5/6/09 by Majorion]



posted on Jun, 5 2009 @ 10:06 AM
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reply to post by Majorion
 


What about patches for security holes? Can't really ignore those. Remember that Conficker worm virus thing, if people downloaded Microsoft updates then it wouldn't of become such a problem. At least that's what Microsoft say.

I do take your point though, it's hard to have any faith when they start messing with apps that have nothing to do with them or their OS.



posted on Jun, 5 2009 @ 10:32 AM
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Originally posted by yizzel
What about patches for security holes? Can't really ignore those. Remember that Conficker worm virus thing, if people downloaded Microsoft updates then it wouldn't of become such a problem. At least that's what Microsoft say.


Actually, I recall no such virus or other security threats, because I do not pay attention to these things. I consider it a form of Microsoft propaganda.

I have never once suffered any form of security or virus/worm/trojan since the day I called it quits with MS and their updates years ago.

Believe it or not, my system is absolutely free of anti-virus software of any kind. And although it may sound absurd, but I always recommend and advise others to keep their systems free of any security and anti-virus software.

Trust me, I used to use all kinds of those programs, and back in those days - I used to get all sorts of problems, glitches, and even malicious viruses.

If you keep your system clean from this rubbish, I guarantee that your pc/laptop will never crash or suffer any problems, so long as you avoid use of p2p or torrent software, you will not have any problems.

Regards,



posted on Jun, 6 2009 @ 06:43 PM
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Yeah, this doesn't seem like a smart move at all for a company that has had so many issues with Uncle Sam's anti trust folks over forcing their browser on people.

Even if they back off on it fast with another update, they might not escape some sort of $lap on the wri$t for this.



posted on Jun, 6 2009 @ 06:53 PM
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Woo Hoo! Checked my Firefox extensions and registry and I do not have this. I think that my AVG caught it. Either that, or my advanced system care caught it. Both are great for catching little security holes like this.



posted on Jun, 7 2009 @ 09:45 AM
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reply to post by yizzel
 

Yizzel, I am so grateful to you for bringing this to my attention.

I'm in Australia. I checked and I don't have it.
But my son had been complaining for months that his computer felt sick, Firefox felt like it was just limping and he'd not been able to find anything wrong with it.
He'd tried all sorts of virus and adware checkers and they'd come up with nothing.

Sure enough he has it. - The early version too, with no delete option.

It's handy having two computers in the house, I read out the uninstall instructions while he went through them. I don't know yet if it's made a difference, but we were both glad to see the add-on was really gone after we followed the instrustions in this thread.



posted on Jun, 7 2009 @ 09:29 PM
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Dump Windows and go get a Mac.



posted on Jun, 7 2009 @ 09:47 PM
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Hah. This explains why my computer has been so sluggish lately. I think I'll go with the option of completely starting over with FF and NEVER EVER doing an MS update again. I'm good with Avast and Spybot Search and Destroy. I've only had one virus - after a fresh install of XP home I went to my Yahoo homepage on my way to MS update and within seconds had a virus! My other computer is running Ubuntu and I'm very happy with it but it's down at the moment with the power supply blown.
M$ should be sued for this. This is going to take hours for me to sort...it might be easier for me to to a complete re-install including all my add-ons than to follow the instructions above, I'm just not very confident about run - command lines and such.

Talk about malware. I'm pretty sure M$ is behind all the screw ups I've encountered with my wireless config...they seem to be constantly battling d-link to take control and I trust d-link a heck of a lot more than M$ to do my wireless routing.



posted on Jun, 7 2009 @ 09:53 PM
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Wow. I'm back. I didn't uninstall it but was able to disable it (version 1.0) and my computer is already faster. I'm afraid to touch it now what with the one click commitment. This is madness.







 
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