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Microsoft’s .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) update, which came out last February, seems to have slipped a roofie to both Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox in the form of a “browse-and-get-owned attack vector.” The issue with Firefox is a point of contention with some users because Microsoft didn't make users aware that Firefox was being modified.
The security weakness was introduced through the Windows Presentation Foundation plug-in, which was installed both in IE and Firefox. According to Annoyances.org, the update made Firefox susceptible to one of IE’s biggest weaknesses: “the ability for websites to easily and quietly install software on your PC.”
Initially, the plug-in couldn’t be removed from Firefox, a problem rectified by a May update to the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. However, given that Microsoft has revisited the issue in a newly released security bulletin, the problem seems to persist.
If you are a Firefox user and have .NET Framework 3.5 installed you might want to check for the Windows Presentation Foundation plug-in and, if it is present, disable it. Microsoft’s security bulletin provides these instructions: “Tools”-> “Add-ons” -> “Plugins”, select “Windows Presentation Foundation”, and click “Disable”.
Image Credit: ktpupp/flickr