Author Topic: Reports of Avast Removing Firefox Browser Extensions  (Read 2937 times)

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Offline Corrine

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Reports of Avast Removing Firefox Browser Extensions
« on: November 16, 2014, 09:18:16 PM »
From gHacks:  Latest Avast reportedly deleting Firefox add-ons:
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Several locations on the Internet, including the official Avast forum, Reddit and Firefox support site Mozilla Zine, are filling up with user reports that that latest version of Avast deletes Firefox add-ons automatically.

Some users report that add-ons get deleted automatically on startup and without option to prevent this from happening in the first place.

The issue does not seem to be linked to the program's Browser Cleanup tool directly even though it is designed to detect and remove lowly rated plugins and browser extensions that are installed in popular browsers such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

It is unclear right now what is causing the issue and why only some users of the browser who have Avast installed on their systems are affected by the automatic removal of Firefox add-ons on the system.

More at the source and the referenced links.


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Offline Digerati

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Re: Reports of Avast Removing Firefox Browser Extensions
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2014, 02:07:43 PM »
Removing things I purposely installed without my permission sure would upset me, and frustrate me if it was not obvious what removed them. Glad I don't use Avast.
Bill (AFE7Ret)
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Offline ky331

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Re: Reports of Avast Removing Firefox Browser Extensions
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2014, 10:24:30 AM »
Per report in the avast forum:

We identified BrowserCleanup to be the cause. An update in a hash calculation mechanism caused the wrong files to be deleted instead of some temporary files. Unfortunately QA processes did not catch the problem as it affected .XPI extensions in Firefox only (which were not fully covered by the tests). We apologize for the issue and will make that it does not happen again.

The fix for this bug has been shipped this morning 8:53 (CET) with VPS version 141118-0. (VPS =~ "Engine + virus patterns")
The new VPS should be installed automatically so there's no action required from your side.


Remark:   Browser Cleanup is an optional module, which if activated, was only supposed to check and warn.   Apparently, the error caused it to delete things automatically.

Offline Digerati

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Re: Reports of Avast Removing Firefox Browser Extensions
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2014, 11:48:37 AM »
I don't think I am buying their explanation. As noted here and here, .xpi files are basically renamed .zip files used to install the add-on. So how can deleting the compressed installation file remove the installed add-on from the browser? And how did no one notice their add-ons were missing or not working during their quality assurance/beta testing? This problem was in the Avast Browser Cleanup tool - not the whole Avast anti-malware suite. So what were the Browser Cleanup tool developers running QA tests on, if not how it cleaned up browsers?

I feel the screw-up was (1) much more than just a hash mis-calculation, (2) there was no quality assurance testing to speak of, other than maybe seeing if the browser would still start. And worst of all (3) they are now trying to downplay or cover up their laziness and the seriousness of their faux pas. :( The cover up is typically worse than the crime! At least my kids always got into more trouble when they lied to me about something they did wrong, than for what they did wrong.

I note too that SeaMonkey, another alternative Mozilla based browser, was apparently affected too. I have not seen any reports about Pale Moon add-ons and Avast users seeing these problems.

I also notice on the Avast website,
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Avast recommends using the FREE Chrome™ internet browser.
You can jump to your own conclusions with that.
Bill (AFE7Ret)
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