Vanishing add-ons

General discussion about the NoScript extension for Firefox
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periboob
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Vanishing add-ons

Post by periboob » Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:46 pm

In the last several months I have had NoScript, 3 times now, just evaporate from my Firefox add-ons. Just gone, no sign it was ever installed. Last time, yesterday, also missing was FlashGot. I would have been suspicious of an anti-InformAction plot, but there were two others missing--Video DownloadHelper, and another that I forget. Re installing was no problem, so I am not terribly concerned, but has made me a little more watchful of my status-bar to make sure the little "S" is there!

In the past, I have had several times when I thought that I was missing an add-on, but they were little-used tools, and I do a fair amount of tweaking and replacing, so I thought I had just deleted them myself, and forgotten. But I would never have uninstalled NS, nor FG. Has anyone else had events like this, or is it (more likely) just some glitch in my system?
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Giorgio Maone
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by Giorgio Maone » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:13 pm

Could you show me your extension list?
There are extensions (e.g. Microsoft's .NET Framework Assistant and McAfee's Site Advisor) which are known for making other extensions disappear randomly.
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periboob
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by periboob » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:13 pm

Did not have either of those you mentioned as likely problems. Here is the output of Extension List Dumper, not on the list because it was not installed at the time of the disappearance.

Application: Firefox 3.5.5 (20091102152451)
Operating System: WINNT (x86-msvc)

- antipagination 2008.6.20
- AutoPager 0.5.3.5
(Disabled)
- BBCodeXtra 0.2.5.6
- Dafizilla ViewSourceWith 0.5.1
- DownloadHelper 4.6.5
- FlashGot 1.2.0.9
- Gmail Manager 0.5.7.5
- GMarks 1.0.1
- Google Gears 0.5.33.0
- Google Toolbar for Firefox 6.1.20090917Wb1
- Greasemonkey 0.8.20090920.2
- Image Zoom 0.3.1
- Java Console 6.0.10
- Java Console 6.0.11
- Java Console 6.0.13
- Java Console 6.0.15
- Launchy 4.2.1
- Locationbar Limit 2008.11.17
- Menu Editor 1.2.6
- Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant 0.0.0
- NoScript 1.9.9.18
- NoUn Buttons 1.1.3
- Password Exporter 1.2
- Pixlr 1.2
- QuoteURLText 1.0.9b
- SmoothWheel (AMO) 0.44.19.20090811.3
- Tab Mix Plus 0.3.7.4pre.090516
- Toolbar Buttons 0.6.0.8
- UnMHT 5.4.0
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periboob
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by periboob » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:19 pm

Well, I will be dipped. The .NET pest is back. My mistake. I did not install that, and I am considering a lawsuit against microsoft for malicious trespass on private property. I guess it is possible that is the answer. I will remove the crap and do a little research on how to keep it from coming back. Thanks!

edit: Well, now this is interesting. I had just installed the Extension List Dumper. Never before used it. When I saw the .NET item in the list I did not question, just believed it. But now, I see that when I open the Firefox Add-Ons window, it does not show any entry for "Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant". Only shows up on the Dumper list. And it is showing version 0.0.0? So, now I dont know if I really have it installed, or my earlier attempt to remove it with a crowbar just left its fingerprints that the Dumper app is reporting.

This is starting to get complicated.
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Giorgio Maone
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by Giorgio Maone » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:40 pm

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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by Tom T. » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:28 am

periboob wrote:Well, I will be dipped. The .NET pest is back. My mistake. I did not install that, and I am considering a lawsuit against microsoft for malicious trespass on private property.....

You have my moral support on that. And not only do they *remove* extensions silently, they also add them silently, and in the process, introduce new vulnerabilities into Firefox. I think you'll find the linked article interesting.

It would indeed be interesting to see whether this behavior constitutes the criminal definition of hacking (illegally accessing/altering the computer or network of another without permission), and the easier-to-satisfy civil lawsuit ("Preponderance of evidence" vs. "Proof beyond a reasonable doubt"), though you'd have to show actual damages in the latter. Good luck, and let us know how you make out. (Class action, anyone?)
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periboob
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by periboob » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:40 pm

Seems like the suit would be a no-brainer. The majority of FF users are pretty motivated to keep track of extensions, so there are likely millions of witnesses on our side. It is very clear that they did access the computers. Seems the only discussion is whether this computer belongs to me, or to Microsoft, and whether they have to get permission to make changes to it. It would be hard to quantify the damages, beyond the time spent in removal (maybe one hour each, $25/hr times 10 million?), and, with that many victims, I would bet there were a few fatalities from the apoplexy-inducing anger at being violated.

Unfortunately, I would not be able to participate in the suit due to debilitating hives I get when I spend much time with lawyers. If some enterprising young attorney wanted to make his mark, he could keep what ever he could squeeze from MS. I dont want any money, I just want MS's fingers broken to discourage them from similar exploits.
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by Tom T. » Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:43 am

periboob wrote:...Unfortunately, I would not be able to participate in the suit due to debilitating hives I get when I spend much time with lawyers.

You have my empathy there, too. ;)
periboob wrote:If some enterprising young attorney wanted to make his mark, he could keep what ever he could squeeze from MS. I dont want any money, I just want MS's fingers broken to discourage them from similar exploits.

The unfortunate truth is that our young, crusading attorney would be up against the 800-lb. gorilla, who can spend millions on a team of top-flight attorneys to fight, harass, delay .... The following is true: I have a friend who graduated from law school. One professor told them that large corporations keep whole sets of attorneys *for the sole purpose of creating delays* -- asking for continuations, re-hearing, new evidence, etc. -- knowing that the one with the most resources can hold out the longest, while the young attorney starves awaiting the settlement. See the movie, "A Civil Action" for a not-entirely-untrue depiction of the obstacles faced.

For those reasons, you might have better luck with organizations devoted to such purposes, like http://epic.org and http://www.eff.org, and others, which are devoted to user-privacy issues and have staff and donations to support such things. Good luck.

The other avenue you have is your right of free speech. Post to relevant blogs, tell friends and family, e-mail (but don't spam), host your own web site (your ISP probably provides some amount of free hosting), etc.... Start a media campaign, issue press releases -- hire a PR firm -- use your imagination. The power of public opinion might be much greater than some monetary amount that would be maybe a week's worth of revenue to MS. Cheers.
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GµårÐïåñ
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by GµårÐïåñ » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:18 am

Hey now, not all lawyers are bad. Some have been responsible for great societal rehabilitation through litigation and ultimately adjudication. Plus for every bad lawyer out there, there is one with a noble intent to uphold the law and justice. That's why all of them are not defense attorneys making big dirty money. :|
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Re: Vanishing add-ons

Post by Tom T. » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:24 am

GµårÐïåñ wrote:Hey now, not all lawyers are bad. Some have been responsible for great societal rehabilitation through litigation and ultimately adjudication. Plus for every bad lawyer out there, there is one with a noble intent to uphold the law and justice. That's why all of them are not defense attorneys making big dirty money. :|

Sorry, Brother, it's just that I haven't been able to locate one of those noble ones despite going through half a dozen attorneys and law firms in my business. And being opposed by the dirty ones. Of course you are right that there are good ones *somewhere* (not in my area, apparently :cry: ), so please forgive me for taking a moment to empathize with the poster.
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