Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing "explosive crashes"

Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing "explosive crashes"

Summary: Mozilla's new rapid-release schedule for Firefox is playing havoc with security software companies. A McAfee add-on has been blocked because of crashes with recent Firefox releases, and Norton has had to issue multiple compatibility updates.

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Mozilla has taken the rare step of blacklisting a McAfee extension for the Firefox browser.

The Firefox add-ons page for McAfee ScriptScan displays a large red X and notes that the add-on "causes a high volume of crashes."

Mozilla's advisory says, "Users are strongly encouraged to disable the problematic add-on or plugin, but may choose to continue using it if they accept the risks described."

The bug report for the issue goes into greater detail. The report is titled "Blocklist McAfee ScriptScan for Firefox and McAfee SiteAdvisor due to explosive crashes," and it notes that two separate bugs highly correlated with the two add-ons caused 3,432 and 6,691 crashes in the week ending September 28. The issues reportedly affect users of Firefox 6.0.2 and the just-released Firefox 7.

A comment in the bug report, dated September 28, suggests that the problem is even worse than those numbers would suggest:

We had 1555 processed crashes on 6.* yesterday, with the 10% throttling rate, this means that roughly 15,000 crashes happened during a single day with this signature!

The list of blocked add-ons includes an entry for McAfee SiteAdvisor from last March. Three Microsoft products, including the Bing Bar, were blocked in October 2010 at Microsoft's request, to address security issues.

This isn't the first time that McAfee's add-on has been flagged for performance or reliability issues. An IBM TechNote from 2008 reports that an earlier version of ScriptScan "causes a four to seven seconds delay in rendering pages" from IBM's WebSphere application. In that case, according to IBM, McAfee acknowledged the performance issues with the tool.

A support thread at Mcafee.com acknowledges the current issue and says "McAfee is aware of it, has a bug filed and is working with Mozilla to address the problem."

This sort of incompatibility isn't surprising. Mozilla's decision to shift to a rapid-release schedule plays havoc with the makers of browser add-ons. On October 1, Symantec updated its Norton Toolbar and Norton Vulnerability Protection add-ons for Firefox. That followed a "minor product update" on September 20. A separate support note advised "This patch is necessary to prepare your Norton 2012 Product for the upcoming Firefox 7 compatibility update that we will release to Norton Products at a future date?." The Firefox 7.0 Compatibility Patch was released on September 27.

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37 comments
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  • Just upgraded

    Most of my key plugins are incompatible, including Dejaclick. Thankfully, I still have SolarWinds and IE9's built-in network analyzer.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

      @facebook@... Just bump the MaxVersion flag in the Extension's XPI file. It's dead simple to do.
      bradavon
      • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

        @bradavon NO, do not edit the extension. Just turn off Firefox's compatibility check: http://kb.mozillazine.org/Extensions.checkCompatibility
        statl1750
  • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

    Firefox sync isn't working either. Everyone on Twitter is getting unknown error when trying to connect to sync server. No word on it from Mozilla it is like they don't care.
    Randalllind
    • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

      @Randalllind I'm getting the error as well. Checking the server status they are still working on it. The servers are being overloaded from what the status indicated.
      shinji257
      • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

        @shinji257 AFAICT, the issues are supposed to be fixed by tomorrow.
        Natanael_L
    • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

      @Randalllind ... They d NOT care; you're rght!
      tomaaaaaa1
  • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

    Eh. So, then what's the big deal? Seems like a cruddy addon to begin with. Not really needed.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Because it was already installed

      @Cylon Centurion

      And when Firefox updates itself, it causes a crash. At least 15,000 such crashes in one day. You want that happening in your organization?
      Ed Bott
      • IE autodestructs, too

        I get frustrated with IE, which is our corporate mandated browser. It breaks for no apparent reason such that I can't reach our HR website, nor use our VPN (amongst other things). The only way I can get connected is to download Firefox (just checked ... I'm on 7). The support folks get in and fiddle with settings and IE works for a few days, then self-destructs again. That stinks.
        JimboNobody
      • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

        @Ed Bott No, but after seeing what McAfee AntiVirus Enterprise can do, I would rather not have it in my organization at all.
        douglasac10
    • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

      @Cylon Centurion: Agreed. It looks pointless and IT Pros should've disabled it to start with.
      bradavon
  • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

    I don't believe that crashing a lot would be considered a performance issue, more of a stability one. Generally if you have a performance issue you function but just take longer.
    RandomEngy
    • Thanks

      @RandomEngy

      My point was that the extension in question had been flagged before. I edited that sentence to make the point clearer based on your feedback. Thanks.
      Ed Bott
    • RE: ...you function but just take longer

      @RandomEngy

      But, if your organization uses Firefox for internal `web` apps, crashes does impede productivity; and management won't have any of that.
      fatman65536
  • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

    Chrome........I yanked firefox from our 1-and-only Windoze system a few weeks ago.

    Of course, Firefox is running fine on our Ubuntu machines....
    gregebert
    • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

      @gregebert

      I still prefer Opera to any of the others.
      fairportfan
  • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

    McAfee has always made Bloatware with these types of problems. Along with Norton they publish long lists of things to disable so their Bloat can run. Wise up folks, there are other alternatives that don't make you slaves to their exceptions
    silvermart
  • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

    I wouldn't trust a McAfee firefox extension. I'd opt not to install it if that was a possibility.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
  • RE: Mozilla blocks McAfee Firefox extension, citing

    I disabled every add-on except my 1password extension and it still kept crashing. I went back to Safari until they fix it. I don't have the McAfee extension as I am on a Mac. Firefox has also been hogging a huge amount of my resources for a long time. I like it but I can't keep up with the crashes.
    coolmompw