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Something "took over" Firefox.

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tvme
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Something "took over" Firefox.

And I think it was you guys...

I have version 3.0.16. I DO NOT want your new versions, thank you.

This morning I was hijacked to a page saying my version was out of date. The despicable thing even used "tabs".

This spyware/update/malware/virus:

Added line at the top with "Most Visited", "Getting Started", and other useless garbage.

Added a "Wick-i-garbage" box.

Changed my settings to allow BOTH Java and Java script!!!

Changed my "clear private data" pop up so it will NOT clear everything except saved passwords. It will NOT go back to the way I had it set!! I don't want somebody's cookies left on my computer.

Changed the look and feel of with "icons". I learned to read many, many years ago. Those who require pictures have my sympathy but I had my computer set up the way I wanted it.

This malware version insists on opening those space stealing "Tabs". I do not use them.

It changed my "window size" so needed objects no longer fit on my screen.

I really don't remember how to fix these things anymore. I "use" the internet for information. I don't "play with it". Is there an easy way to return Firefox to the way I had it?

Will system restore work? If so, will whatever spyware/update/malware/virus you guys... "embedded" just screw up my world again?

Who made a conscious decision to mess up my computer this morning? Why? Why would ANYBODY want to change my privacy settings to a level with which I'm uncomfortable? The attitude that type of thing requires is unfathomable.

If this spyware/update/malware/virus cannot be reversed or removed, does anyone know of a nice simple browser that IS what firefox WAS? Again, I do not want your new versions.

Did this malware also do nasty things, I've yet to notice, to Thunderbird. Is it spamming/ infecting my contacts?

By the way, I do not "do" g**gle. I do my imperfect best to block it. If it is the only place downloads are available; I'll do without.

I also don't mean to rant but the concept of doing something nasty to someone you don't even know rankles.

I would really appreciate some help. All I wanted to do this morning is to check the weather forecast and my email. But someone, probably working here, decided I shouldn't be allowed to do that.

Thanks in advance,
Bob

ottosykora
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what os?

calm down first.

Browser hijack and similar are happening often enough, at least you see how vulnerable browsers are.
It mostly happen when the user clicks on some link which does few other things then just show next page.

Where do you have your Firefox installed?
Is it portable version on usb stick?
Do you have a backup of your stick? If so, then simply delete the folder and copy/paste back the Firefox portable folder back from backup.
But in general you can just remove any **extensions** which might have been installed by the action and then simply configure your Firefox as it was before. Those icon bars and 'helpers' are just part of simple addon in form of an extension istalled.
Do you have in your firefox ticked the 'ask before installing extensions'?? Probably not, so the extension was installed and you just can remove it.

as for tabs, well if the link on the particular site does include the order 'open in a new tab' then it will try to do it.

>Will system restore work?

Otto Sykora
Basel, Switzerland

Gord Caswell
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Not from here

We DO NOT auto-update any of the apps available here, although if you haven't unchecked the "update automatically" box in firefox options, Mozilla may have pushed an update to you. There's nothing we can do here to control that.

Also, the version you're using is extremely out-of-date, and there has been numerous security fixes since that version.

With that said, 3.0.16 is still available from us: http://sourceforge.net/projects/portableapps/files/Mozilla%20Firefox%2C%...

Chris Morgan
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Insecure, slow browser

We don't do things like that. Never have. Never will.

You should not be using Firefox 3.0 at all any more. It is an insecure browser with known critical security issues. It is an obsolete, dangerous browser to use.

As long as you continue using Firefox 3.0, you are at very high risk of getting malware (I can't tell from your description whether you have received malware or are merely slandering a later version of Firefox you elected to update to; Mozilla never forces you to update). Please help the Internet by updating to Firefox 11.

More than that, I don't know of any reason not to update to Firefox 11; it is better in every way (more efficient and faster if that helps you), with the possible exception of a few old extensions that don't work properly in newer versions—but such extensions are rare and even then a poor excuse for using such an insecure browser. Firefox 3.0 was designed for the Internet of 2008. Since then, the Internet has become a lot more demanding of all sorts of resources, and Firefox 11 is designed to work well under such loads, while Firefox 3.0 will struggle badly on many sites.

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

tvme
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OK, I'm a little calmer.

OK, I'm a little calmer.

This is my "new" (un-changeable) homepage. I'm guessing this is where my hijacker lives.

http://en-US.start2.mozilla.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla...

Yes, the malware/spyware/update/virus also changed my homepage. It changed my update settings to update everything. My last thread was to ensure I had updates turned off, so yes I'm very sure they were OFF!! If the advice was correct anyway. The last recorded update was 16DEC09. This, the portable apps site, is where I got the downloads. I hope you forgive me if this place isn't that place. For me, it's all the same.

The malware/spyware/update/virus changed my update settings, added update mozilla and update add-ons to my "allow" list. Those are gone now I'll see if they stay gone. Also changed were my choice NOT to accept third party cookies (I've changed that back several times to no avail) and the tabs settings. There were others but frankly I forgot what the were- basically allowing my privacy to be compromised.

I've read these types of changes are what the "new" Firefox versions force upon users. I don't know. They are unacceptable and are why I didn't update. I won't be updating firefox at least until I figure out who trashed my system. If it was those who wrote the program- I'll find something else.

I am running portable apps from my hard drive. I have a the same version on a USB stick. The bookmarks and passwords on the stick are a few months outdate. I can use that version as a back up but I'm afraid you/mozilla (same difference to me) will just trash it again.

Will restore likely work? Is there a way to stop this from occurring again?

I don't use java or java script so I don't need anything fancy. I don't "do" social sites or p*rn so what I had worked well. I have no "flash" type programs on my computer.

Chris Morgan wrote: "I can't tell from your description whether you have received malware or are merely slandering a later version of Firefox you elected to update to; Mozilla never forces you to update"

I'm replying to you because, one, I don't believe it is possible to "slander" an inanimate object. Secondly because at least you identify yourself as a Christian. I'm hoping that means that you personally had nothing to do with it. All I want is what I had last night. I don't want the garbage that "someone" put on my computer without my permission. I don't know what problem I have but I got the program here. CAN YOU HELP? If "update" is your only answer, is there an easy way to get my bookmarks and passwords to a text file?

Is there another browser that IS what Firefox WAS? I read that g**gle "broke into" another aftermarket browser and changed it's settings to force their little nasties on unsuspecting users. Is there anything good out there? I really don't like Microsoft stuff but if it's all there is...

I truly appreciate any constructive help anyone can offer. Sorry a later version of the same "problem" is not constructive. I had nothing against Firefox until this morning- I still have nothing against it. The unacceptable aspects of the updates simply meant I kept the old version. No problem.

Bob

Ken Herbert
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Unfortunately as Chris has

Unfortunately as Chris has said, using such an outdated version does pose a heavy risk. It doesn't matter whether you only visit a small, hopefully trusted set of websites: most websites in the world are vulnerable to some form of hacking/malware injection at some point whether you think you trust them or not.

In one respect I do not agree with Chris though: I have seen Mozilla force an update to Firefox. It was somewhere around 4 or 5, and I had been refusing to update because of a particular add-on which I could not work without at the time. The forced update was the nail in the coffin so to speak, and made me move to Chrome and then SRWare Iron.

You could try Iron, it is available here, and is a fork of Google Chrome which has removed the Google tracking stuff. You would have to get used to tabs though, but Chrome/Iron's implementation of tabs is much more minimalistic than FF4+ and gives more browsing space than Firefox 3. Plus, Iron will never update without you doing it manually (or through the PortableApps updater if you use the platform).

But in all truth and for all your negativity regarding Mozilla forcing an update you should be hoping that is what has happened. The alternative is that your computer is now infected with some form of malware, some of which can be exceptionally hard to remove.

ottosykora
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rather simple

>This is my "new" (un-changeable) homepage. I'm guessing this is where my hijacker lives.

http://en-US.start2.mozilla.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla...

Otto Sykora
Basel, Switzerland

gluxon
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Right, that was the default

Right, that was the default homepage for earlier versions of Firefox before 4. A virus could have injected its code into the page somehow though.

gluxon
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This really sounds to me like

This really sounds to me like you were infected by a drive-by virus. As Chris Morgan has mentioned, older Firefox versions are no longer patched and maintained with the latest security fixes. Although it certainly lowers the risk, disabling JavaScript will not always prevent this from happening.

My recommendation is that you try out Firefox 10 ESR. It is a separate build designed for business users and is patched with security updates regularly.

I personally believe that Mozilla has forced "0" changes on users. Defaults may have been swapped to suit the majority of users, but there has always been a switch to revert such changes. A lot of users tend to rant about those changes before exploring the options to change them back.

tvme
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Thanks all. It looks like a

Thanks all. It looks like a different browser is in the offing.

The "new" homepage comes back even after I delete it. It says it is "mozilla.org" but frankly I couldn't tell you if it's a phony site or the real one. The best I can figure some... silly old boy at my new homepage SOMEHOW, without my permission, changed the settings I've tweaked over the years back to some unsecure "default" position. At this point I don't think it really matters. Malware/spyware/update/virus- they're all the same when they occur without my consent.

I keep changing options back to what they were and sometimes they stay. Sometimes not. At least I got rid of the extra tool bar, those silly pictures, and the Wiki-garbage. There were several changes I made from that long one page list. That's been so long ago I have no memory of what they were except they were helpful; now they're just gone. But they are on the USB stick.

For what it's worth I'm running XP SP-3.

winterblood- Thanks for the tip about SRWare Iron. I've got this browser semi-usable so at least I can look. But I have no confidence they won't trash it again. I think you're right; they forced or tried to force an update. What actually did happen was they trashed the browser. I didn't know that tabs were not "minimalistic" in Firefox version 4 and higher. Thanks again.

This is the second version of Firefox I've had (I kept the other one a while too) so I have no clue about what might be available. Chrome is out completely. What was the one g**gle broke into and changed the settings? (Hmmm... that's sort of like what happened to me. LOL!) Is that browser now reasonably safe?

How about Internet Explorer version whatever? That was the last non-firefox browser I used. I wasn't real happy with it- obviously. I changed. When I got SP-3 I think I had to download it but I never installed it. Is it real bad?

Anyone else, please, if you know of other browsers I'd like to hear about them. Particularly any that don't force tabs down the user's throat.

I'm on a very limited connection so I download updates and the like at libraries. My connection log seems to be resetting itself so I don't know how much was downloaded yesterday. I'll email the broadband folks and see if they can tell me the numbers AND find out how to fix the log. If I used much more bandwidth than usual yesterday- somebody did something really nasty.

Bob

On edit- I keep forgetting, is there an easy way to save my bookmarks and passwords to a text file to move them to another browser?

Chris Morgan
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Try Firefox again

I recommend that you try Firefox 11. Tabs really aren't that bad; compared with using multiple windows, they're generally considerably more efficient from the user's perspective. However, if you don't want to use them, you don't need to. And if you don't like seeing the tab bar when you have only a single tab, Firefox will accommodate you (uncheck "Always show the tab bar" in Tools -> Options -> Tabs). Chrome and its derivatives can't; Internet Explorer can, but compared with Firefox 11, you'll find IE8 (the latest version available on XP) very sluggish (it's closer to Firefox 3.0 in performance).

If you stay with Firefox, you also get the benefit that you can keep your bookmarks and passwords. Updating to Firefox 11 will keep all your settings and everything.

What you are describing does sound more like malware than like an accidental update (Mozilla has never forced an update, so if you have disabled automatic updating it will not have updated itself).

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

gluxon
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I don't like saying this, and

I don't like saying this, and I hope you don't take it the wrong way, but it seems to me that you have a very high bias for change. It's been 4 years since Firefox 3 was released. Thousands upon thousands of bugs have been fixed since then, with revisions and reworked interfaces that have gone through hours of thought and hard discussion. I personally hated Firefox 4's interface when I first saw it back in 2010. It felt unnatural, but after using it and reading Mozilla discussions, I found out that there were some ingenious ideas with thought for improvement behind each change.

winterblood- Thanks for the tip about SRWare Iron. I've got this browser semi-usable so at least I can look. But I have no confidence they won't trash it again. I think you're right; they forced or tried to force an update. What actually did happen was they trashed the browser. I didn't know that tabs were not "minimalistic" in Firefox version 4 and higher. Thanks again.

It really pains me reading this after it's been said multiple times that Firefox 3 or any current Firefox version does not even contain the code to perform an automatic update. Mozilla is a non-profit that's success is based on user content, they know that an automatic update at this state wil just create frustration.

What I also want to point out is the fact that SRWare Iron is a fork of Chromium, which is the basis for Google Chrome. There are no differences in user experience and features between Chrome and Iron. I don't think it makes sense to me that Chrome would be out but not a duplicate.

I would like you to reconsider Firefox, but don't feel that I'm trying to force that back on you. If you're truly ready to give it a toss, the last browser I would recommend is Midori.

Ken Herbert
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I personally have nothing

I personally have nothing against Chrome, I used to use it until I found Iron, and my wife uses it quite regularly herself. I only put forth Iron but not Chrome as tvme seems (to me) to be someone who would not willingly opt in to some of the additions Google have made that have been removed in Iron.

ottosykora
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just to say

when I take my old firefox 2.x I get the same page from all sites which are some kind of connected to google, search sites etc.

The search page of google in my location does show exactly same picture and search sides which are relating on google here do display the same. It is simply so. When I go to same page with the recent firefox this view does not come up, only with the old browser.

____
OK, did some more fast checks.
It looks like the current version of firefox does contact the search sites in question with https, the old version (2.x in my case) is not able to do so for some reason properly and is therefore diverted to that 'please update' message.
The old firefox tries with https too but seems to fail on that and jumps back to open http immediately. The current one keeps the search page contacting https however.
For me this could be well dues to expired or missing root certs in the old firefox version. This old firefox was not updated for years, so why should certs not be expired or revoked or what ever.

So to me it looks like if the secure connection fails, the site will divert to that 'pls update' site.

Otto Sykora
Basel, Switzerland

ottosykora
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bookmarks

>On edit- I keep forgetting, is there an easy way to save my bookmarks and passwords to a text file to move them to another browser?

Otto Sykora
Basel, Switzerland

tvme
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Thanks again. And yes,

Thanks again.

And yes, Chrome is out because it's hooked into g**gle.

I'd tried saving my bookmarks using firefox's internal backup utility. That gets me a "JSON" file that isn't readable by anything I have. Notepad shows me the information is there- it just doesn't make a lot of sense.

I looked at the Midori link and didn't understand what the reviewer was talking about so I guess that one isn't for me. I have a few others to look into.

Everyone seems to be worried about speed except me. Try turning off java and java script. You'll feel better instantly. Erase everything vaguely "flash" and macromedia/adobe. While you're at it, block everything you run across that is g**gle connected and turn off "Active-X". I think I've removed, or at least turned off, anything that plays videos. After taking those simple steps ANY browser is lightning fast and you can browse all month on one gigabyte.

For example, I check one Yahoo mailbox daily and two others a couple of times a week. I see one, maybe two ads each MONTH! And those (stationary) ads that sneak through I block in a few seconds. How many ads do you see? How about that fanning deck of business cards! Is that time and bandwidth waster still there? LOL!

NOTHING on my screen jumps around like a 2 year old that ate 5 pounds of sugar. The only thing that blinks is the cursor.

Kontera/CanTara (whatever; doesn't matter what its really called- I call them "toepoppers" after the baby land mine) ads annoy people. It was months before I realized what everyone was complaining about. No java script- no toepoppers. I needed to use a library computer to realize just how annoying the internet has become. I don't know how you guys put up with it.

Actually I'd like to find a way turn off the mouse over drop down menus too. I tend to avoid those sites. I don't need to download stuff I don't want to see anyway. That's silly.

What I've been trying to get across I just want simple. I had it; now it's "broke".

Anyway thanks, I've got a few browsers to check out. I might stop back.

Bob

J Neutron
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Ever get the idea you're swimming against the tide?

I'd tried saving my bookmarks using firefox's internal backup utility. That gets me a "JSON" file that isn't readable by anything I have. Notepad shows me the information is there- it just doesn't make a lot of sense.

Why are you even doing this? You are swimming against the tide, banging your head against the wall and all sorts of other cliches.

YOU WERE TOLD TO **EXPORT** the bookmarks NOT back them up. Export gets you a simple html file with links. Backup gets you a json database.

If you insist on twisting everything you are told, and then complaining that there's a conspiracy against you, then you are either beyond help or are a troll.

Either way, I have resisted commenting because of the level of paranoia in this thread. Please build an aluminum foil hat and find someone else to blame for the world's troubles.

neutron1132 (at) usa (dot) com

ottosykora
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if you are concerend

@tvme

with security, have you in your firefox under extras, security , ticked the items to check if the website is reported doing somethig bad?

Yes? Sure?

Wink

Otto Sykora
Basel, Switzerland

solanus
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Have you tried these steps?

From what I'm hearing, you would be happy if you were back on a version of Firefox that was circa 2009 (3.0.16), with the bookmarks you previously had, and the settings you previously had.
Here's the cleanest way to get there, IMHO:
- First, export your bookmarks to an HTML file - If you Show All Bookmarks, under Import and Backup, there should be an option to Export HTML. Make sure that you have selected the top level (All Bookmarks) which should get you all the bookmarks exported to an HTML file.
- Download the legacy version of Firefox Portable you want to use. PortableApps.com maintains the installers for the older versions of Firefox all the way back to 2.0.0.15. Here's the site:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/portableapps/files/Mozilla%20Firefox%2C%...
I don't see 3.0.16 there, but they do have 3.0.15 and 3.0.17, so that's pretty close. Save that file.
- Get yourself another flash drive - if you really want to make sure you are free of malware, it's best to start as clean as possible.
- Install the legacy version of Firefox (3.0.1x) on the new flash drive. When you open this Firefox, you will get welcome pages that tell you that you are using an outdated version. This comes directly from the Firefox website - it's not malware. You can close these tabs - I think one even has a link for you to click that says you don't care if it's outdated and want use it anyway.
- Copy the HTML file you made from your old bookmarks to the new flash drive, and use Import HTML to import your bookmarks.
- You may have to manually tweak the settings to get it the way you like it; otherwise, you will just have the default settings that came with it when it was published in 2009.

As for Tabs - well, tabs were already part of Firefox back then, but if you change the settings to uncheck "Open windows in a new tab" and "Always show the tab bar" you won't see tabs.

Good Luck.

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

MiK
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Legacy Version 3.0.19

I don't see 3.0.16 there, but they do have 3.0.15 and 3.0.17, so that's pretty close.

Just regarding the legacy 3.0 series, I'd like to point out that the last updated version was 3.0.19, and the download links can be found on the following page:

https://portableapps.com/apps/internet/firefox_portable/localization#leg...

ottosykora
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3.0.19 maintained version

and it should also be noted, that this is not something 'soooo old' it is just other fork and it is still maintained, though have no idea how long.
This means we can take it as security problem etc will be at similar level as with other current versions or somewhere near to it.

Otto Sykora
Basel, Switzerland

John T. Haller
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Long Dead

3.0.x is long dead. As is 3.5.x. Both have security issues and should not be used by anyone. Firefox 3.6.x is being end of lifed exactly 27 minutes from now. We're releasing Firefox ESR 10.0.4 as a portable package tomorrow. As of tomorrow, that is the oldest supported (and, thus, secure) version of Firefox.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

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