Microsoft quietly pushes Firefox extension in toolbar update

By on June 10, 2010, 1:24 PM
It seems Microsoft is back to pushing stealth updates to unsuspecting Windows users via its Windows Update mechanism. As part of its monthly 'Patch Tuesday' cycle, the company pushed out a range of updates this week, fixing vulnerabilities in its operating system and other applications. Among those, however, the company quietly included a browser extension for IE and Firefox to fix a URL handling issue in the Bing toolbar -- whether you have it installed or not.

The update in question, KB982217, is labeled "Update for Microsoft Search Enhancement Pack" and marked as an Important update rather than Optional. This means the extension will be installed either automatically, if the user has Automatic Updates on, or manually when the user clicks Install, as Important updates are checked by default. What makes matters worse is that the update's knowledge base article says nothing about installing an extension or add-on.

There doesn't seem to be any security implications to this add-on's background installation, but as you can imagine Mozilla is not particularly amused by having Microsoft silently updating their browser -- and Firefox users probably won't be either. If you don't appreciate the extension cluttering up your Firefox, or simply don't use Bing's bar, it's safe to remove it just as you would with other extensions -- you can also delete the Firefox Extension folder from "C:Program FilesMicrosoftSearch Enhancement PackSearch Helper" to make sure it's gone from your Firefox install.

User Comments: 13

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Docnoq said:

Hah. Nice try Microsoft. Good thing I haven't gotten around to updating in a few weeks.

Punkid said:

ehh i updated earlier today and i didnt get that update...why is that? is it just on the 64 bit version? please check

Guest said:

its not just on the 64bit.. i could ov swore that update was not offered to me yesterday!

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I certainly didn't see it and I look at each update individually before installing.

Guest said:

Wasn't part of my updates yesterday. Win 7 64-bit OS

BMfan BMfan said:

Same,i wasn't offered the update either.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

So many updates this time around and beta SP1 coming out.

GRW said:

Using Vista 64-bit. Didn't get that particular update. I usually check as most of you already stated.

Sneaky though.

Chazz said:

Ya, I also didn't have that option..and I use the bing toolbar in firefox.

Guest said:

Another reason why I have automatic updates turned off!

I check the updates about once every couple weeks and selectively

install the ones I want. Just because it is new, doesn't make it better,

just new. Sometimes updates break more than they fix.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Likewise, I double-checked after the patch and didn't get the update and I as well have Bing in my search options for FF.

bugejakurt said:

What does the update do?

Guest said:

Just updated yesterday and didn't get this, perhaps it's moved in a different or optional category?

Anyways I'm using minefield firefox 3.7 alpha, works a treat.

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