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Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

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New Contributor

Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

Hi:

 I'm helping a family with Firefox 15.01. Their children installed a rogue game plugin, Iwingames, which preys on children infecting computers, installing redirection adware etc. It's incompatible with Firefox 15.01. We know it's dangerous but it can't be disabled, not in safe mode, not manually. So sure as shooting, the rogue company will update their plugin and the computer will be infected again. Why is Firefox enabling predator companies by preventing users from disabling incompatible plugins? It's a ticking time-bomb. Do I have to tell them to cease using Firefox and switch to IE? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!
22 REPLIES
Support Forum Moderator

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

Plugins aren't installed in Firefox. Firefox uses plugins which are installed into the operating system. Uninstall the program which installed that plugin to get rid of the plugin - or just disable that plugin.

If that plugin is truly as bad as you make it out to be, file a Bugzilla report to make Mozilla aware of it. If Mozilla finds it to be a "bad" plugin they can blacklist that specific plugin so that it won;t work in Firefox and the user would need to manually enable it if it isn't really dangerous. (There's a couple of levels of blacklisting that Mozilla can use.)

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/

New Contributor

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

Hi:

 Make no mistake, these malicious plugins are installed by children who unknowingly trade away the safety of their family computer in exchange for free games. The programs are gone but the plugin/addon remains. Most admins glibly advice users to disable or uninstall the plugin, however, in addon manager a plugin incompatible with version x, cannot be uninstalled or disabled--not even in safe mode. You just have to wait for the unethical company to update the plugin and reinfect the system. 

We know it's a bad plugin. We need to have a way to get rid of it before it creates more havoc. It's not brain surgery. Firefox needs to allow users to disable and uninstall malicious plugins incompatible with the current version.

New Contributor

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

Who gave these children the privileges to install software in the first place? That is the root of the problem. Also, to repeat a previous answer: Plugins are NOT installed in Firefox. Firefox merely reports on their existence. Firefox CANNOT uninstall these things which have been installed in Windows, and Firefox CANNOT prevent the installation of such things. All Firefox can do is Disable its use in Firefox. Someone needs to hunt this malware down and use Windows tools to remove it.

New Contributor

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

That's a bunch of malarkey. I can disable or uninstall every add-on EXCEPT add-ons incompatible with the latest version. I hunted down the malware and took it out but cannot disable or uninstall the addon because it's incompatible with 15.01. I am not asking Firefox to prevent installation; just enable users to disable known malicious add-ons that happen to be incompatible. If it's incompatible disable and uninstall are grayed out.

The family calls me today and drops off the computer. Words are underlined in web pages, linking to ad sites. It turns out to be the add-on, I want this. I go to the addon manager and remove it. Problem solved.

But there's no option to disable or uninstall anything incompatible with 15.01. I know that Iwingames is a malicious add-on but I can't disable or uninstall it. I got rid of the malware but it will come back when Iwingames make their add-on compatible.

Again it's a ticking time bomb. You shouldn't have to assemble a team of IT experts to use Firefox.

Site Moderator

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

hello, there is a difference between plugins & extensions. what the contributors in this question have already explained, applies to plugins.

now it sounds like you are not referring to a plugin but to an extension that can't be uninstalled from within firefox' user interface. this is a problem when it is installed a special way in the firefox program folder (& that doesn't depend on it being deactivated because it's incompatible). you'd probably have to delete the extension file manually on the file-system like described in Cannot remove an add-on (extension or theme) (refer to the section about 'globally installed extensions').

i agree that it will be probably better to create a separate limited user account for the kids, then such problems couldn't arise because software they download wouldn't have the permission to write into the program folder in the first place.

New Contributor

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

Hi:

 Looking at posts regarding this problem, suggestions include removing the incompatible addon via safe mode, removing it manually or through addon manager. This problem has been reported since version 3 and the same suggestions have been made, None of them are effective, users have continued to report they are unable to get rid of these incompatible addons.

I've been using Firefox since beta .54 and have installed it on hundreds of machines but it's no longer safe for families to use. In the past it was an annoyance but there are many dangerous addons now with the only solution being a continual complete uninstall/reinstall of Firefox. It's a security hole a mile wide. If you have to create a limited account, try getting that across to the average user, to use Firefox--it's become high maintenance software.

I'll probably keep on using Firefox and will recommend it to the tech-savvy, but I'm going to start testing Chrome and Opera for families. Firefox is too predator friendly.

Site Moderator

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

firefox does not prevent the removal of incompatible addons (see screenshot).

the problem you're referring to are so called globally installed extensions - and firefox does contain safeguards against them, they won't be enabled without explicit permission of the user in the first place.

2012-09-16-13-56-39-62c92b.png
Site Moderator

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

I agree with madperson that this sounds to be a Extension (listed in Tools->Add-ons->Extensions) and not a Plugin installed on system like Flash or Java.


There was no version of the browser with a number like 54 in version.

New Contributor

Re: Preventing uninstalls of incompatable addons enables predators, Why?

Hi:

 It is an addon, not a plugin, and all were installed by unknowing users. The problem is not being able to uninstall or disable when the problem is identified.