Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:04 UTC, submitted by Rahul
.NET (dotGNU too) Microsoft is really making it hard not to distrust them, aren't they? We already talked about Mono and Moonlight this weekend, and now we're notified of something else. Apparently, the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1, released earlier this year, installs a Firefox extension which could not be uninstalled easily (registry hacking was needed). To make matters worse, this extension came with a pretty big security hole (at least, that's what everyone says). A newer version of this extension has been pushed out in May, which can be uninstalled the proper way. As it turns out, Firefox apparently has a limitation in that extensions installed at the machine level (instead of the user level) cannot be uninstalled from within the extensions GUI.
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Disable instead of remove?
by fkooman on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:25 UTC
fkooman
Member since:
2008-05-06

It seems to be possible to disable the extension instead of removing it. Assuming this disable button actually works.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Disable instead of remove?
by Valhalla on Mon 1st Jun 2009 12:26 UTC in reply to "Disable instead of remove?"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

Well even so, you should be able to remove it totally since why should it be there if you don't want it in the first place?

As for the title blurb of -"As it turns out, Firefox apparently has a limitation in that extensions installed at the machine level (instead of the user level) cannot be uninstalled from within the extensions GUI."

Ehh... the way I see it this has to do with file ownership and account privileges. Installing NET requires admin rights and as such any Firefox extensions installed by that NET package will be created by the admin account and thus the resulting files will be owned by the admin and not removeable by Firefox when running under a limited account.

Reply Score: 4

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Ehh... the way I see it this has to do with file ownership and account privileges. Installing NET requires admin rights and as such any Firefox extensions installed by that NET package will be created by the admin account and thus the resulting files will be owned by the admin and not removeable by Firefox when running under a limited account.


...in which case Firefox should notify you of this, and offer an elevation prompt - which it doesn't. Hence, a limitation in Firefox.

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Ehh... the way I see it this has to do with file ownership and account privileges. Installing NET requires admin rights and as such any Firefox extensions installed by that NET package will be created by the admin account and thus the resulting files will be owned by the admin and not removeable by Firefox when running under a limited account.

...in which case Firefox should notify you of this, and offer an elevation prompt - which it doesn't. Hence, a limitation in Firefox.


And thus you enter into the realm of Kaiwai's argument as to why multi platform applications suck when there is an attempt to try and cater for every platform with no effort to customising each release for each platform - you have the worst of all worlds.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by aacs
by aacs on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:39 UTC
aacs
Member since:
2008-12-13

This must be the plugin that got installed when I wanted to try VS2008 Express. While at it, the installer hosed all of my Firefox configuration resetting back to defaults. Not so nice.

Reply Score: 2

Thom sounds like a fanboy
by kragil on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:42 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

Pushing unwanted extensions down FF users throat is great? Nothing malicious?

Not in my book.

I don`t want .NET and most FF users probably feel the same way. MS just wants more FF exploits.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Thom sounds like a fanboy
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 1st Jun 2009 12:14 UTC in reply to "Thom sounds like a fanboy"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Don't distort what I say to make it fit your own agenda. Where do I say that pushing Firefox extensions without consent is "great"?

It's great that Microsoft is supporting Firefox users, but it does seem like they still have some learning to do here. I don't believe there's anything malicious going on here, but it still would be better to at least ask for the user's permission, but preferably, to just put the extension on Mozilla's website.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Thom sounds like a fanboy
by kragil on Mon 1st Jun 2009 13:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Thom sounds like a fanboy"
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

OK, but calling this malware attack "supporting Firefox" is just as bad.

Reply Score: 0

gedmurphy Member since:
2005-12-23

Malware attack?
How is this malicious software?

It's not Thom who needs to rethink his choice of words, it's you.

Reply Score: 1

Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

The Linux community considers Microsoft software as malware.

Reply Score: 3

Novan_Leon Member since:
2005-12-07

Those little rabid dogs, those Linux users ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Thom sounds like a fanboy
by Ikshaar on Mon 1st Jun 2009 18:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Thom sounds like a fanboy"
Ikshaar Member since:
2005-07-14

Malware attack?
How is this malicious software?

It's not Thom who needs to rethink his choice of words, it's you.


ok call it software that install without user permission... but as they say.. the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It was not malicious per se but open the door to others.

I installed .NET but would have never agree to that extension (it happens that I saw it this morning - before this news and uninstall it right away)

Reply Score: 1

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The real question is, why doesn't Firefox prevent this kind of behavior? I noticed that AVG was doing the same thing in order to install browser extensions (which slowed web surfing down to a crawl), which is one of the reasons I stopped using it.

The ONLY way you should be able to install extensions is through the browser itself. I'm not excusing the behavior of MS or anybody else who does this, but the fact that programs are able to do it in the first place is a security flaw in Firefox as far as I'm concerned.

Reply Score: 1

Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

The real question is, why doesn't Firefox prevent this kind of behavior?


How *can* Firefox prevent it? How can Firefox distinguish between an extension installed through the Firefox interface, and an extension installed through something writing the exact same content to disk?

Reply Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

How *can* Firefox prevent it? How can Firefox distinguish between an extension installed through the Firefox interface, and an extension installed through something writing the exact same content to disk?


I don't know? Perhaps it could have a list of installed extensions in a file that was encrypted, so that outside apps couldn't write to it? Of course, it might get corrupted, but hey... there are smarter people than me to figure these things out ;)

Reply Score: 2

.NET logo
by TommyCarlier on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:49 UTC
TommyCarlier
Member since:
2006-08-02

Maybe a bit off-topic, but the .NET-logo you show in the top right corner is the old .NET-logo. Maybe you should replace it with the new .NET-logo that was introduced last year: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/PDC2008NewNETLogo.aspx

Reply Score: 1

RE: .NET logo
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 1st Jun 2009 12:46 UTC in reply to ".NET logo"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Maybe a bit off-topic, but the .NET-logo you show in the top right corner is the old .NET-logo. Maybe you should replace it with the new .NET-logo that was introduced last year: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/PDC2008NewNETLogo.aspx


Thanks, updated the logo. Shift+refresh your browsers.

Reply Score: 1

Pretty scary
by Liquidator on Mon 1st Jun 2009 12:00 UTC
Liquidator
Member since:
2007-03-04

I didn't know why there was that extension listed in Firefox. I use Firefox to test web sites and to use Firebug. I'm glad I don't have that problem in Opera, my default browser.

Reply Score: 2

Yet another CFAA violation
by cjcoats on Mon 1st Jun 2009 12:40 UTC
cjcoats
Member since:
2006-04-16

As I read the Act, this is a clear violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act--
yet another major violation (recalling Sony).

Someone should be doing jail time. This should not be just swept under
the rug as "corporations will be corporations."

DISCLAIMER: I am a 56-year-old Ph.D. software systems architect.
My experience has led me to have strong opinions.

Reply Score: 5

an often requested feature?
by gfx1 on Mon 1st Jun 2009 12:45 UTC
gfx1
Member since:
2006-01-20

Why would anyone request such a feature?
I haven't a clue about what it does and disabled it.

Features I could request are maybe a silverlight plugin and linux drivers for an microsoft webcam.

Reply Score: 1

Requested by developers
by contextfree on Mon 1st Jun 2009 23:26 UTC in reply to "an often requested feature?"
contextfree Member since:
2009-06-01

.net developers wanted this feature so they could deploy their .net applications more conveniently.

Reply Score: 1

A Flawed But Useful Feature
by testman on Mon 1st Jun 2009 12:50 UTC
testman
Member since:
2007-10-15

I agree that it is admirable to see Microsoft recognising another major player in the browser market. A feature like this can be quite useful for deploying .Net software easily in much the same way as Java Web Start. It's unfortunate that the initial deployment was flawed, but at least this has been rectified now.

By the way—

I could not find any information on the security hole which would allow silent installs, so if anyone has any information on that, let us know.

Is it too much to ask to do some research first before submitting your stories? You shouldn't make claims like this and expect people to do the work to back up your statements for you.

Reply Score: 3

Problem here is
by Nelson on Mon 1st Jun 2009 13:43 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

..people have no idea what ClickOnce is.

http://www.ddj.com/security/196801171
ClickOnce deployment is designed from the ground up to be a limited user deployment mechanism, and it has various security features in place to ensure a trustworthy deployment.

While I think that installing the Add-On at the system level instead of the user level is a bad idea (That has since been addressed), the practice of shipping and installing extensions without consent is not one limited solely to Microsoft.

Firefox stores extensions in a user folder, a malicious user could do way more harm than simply installing a few extensions, if they wanted to.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Problem here is
by Jemm on Thu 4th Jun 2009 11:36 UTC in reply to "Problem here is"
Jemm Member since:
2005-07-25

By the way, Google Chrome uses Click Once to install on Windows (at least when downloaded with IE). The installation is very smooth and auto-updates work in the background.

The Firefox add-on just tries to make it as smooth for Firefox-users, too.

I agree that the .NET 3.5 SP1 -setup should have asked about installing the add-on, though.

Reply Score: 1

Cnuts
by B12 Simon on Mon 1st Jun 2009 14:50 UTC
B12 Simon
Member since:
2006-11-08

That is all

Reply Score: 2

useragent
by Matzon on Tue 2nd Jun 2009 04:24 UTC
Matzon
Member since:
2005-07-06

right, so I might eat the all-users installation required. However it also changes the UserAgent to spam all the .net platforms installed for each request. There is absolutely NO reason to do this.
Next they'll be sending along your version of office and whatever they feel they need to send along ;)

Microsoft ARE abusing their rights when installing .net 3.5 - so dont.

Reply Score: 2

Old news
by trenchsol on Tue 2nd Jun 2009 17:58 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

It is not unusual to have software that is impossible (or partly possible) to uninstall on Windows. Windows users should have got used to it by now.

After installing Microsoft Office, Outlook Express, NET framework itself, for example, the system is hardly possible or impossible to revert to previous state. You've got those, so called, "components" embedded, and can't get rid of them without reinstalling the whole system.

Reply Score: 2