Firefox security hole + workaround

Secunia reports a frame-injection vulnerability in Firefox 1.0.3 and
1.0.4. Mozillazine has details, including a comment that you can close the hole (until 1.0.5 is released) by clicking Tools, Options, Advanced, Tabbed Browsing and changing “open links in a new window” to “open links in a new tab in the most recent window”:

A Secunia bulletin also notes that a similar hole has existed in Internet Explorer 5.x and 6.x since June 2004 and has not yet been patched by Microsoft (but there is a workaroud).

Is Firefox still safer than Internet Explorer?

In a recent article Brian Livingston, the editor at in my opinion concluded a very convincing …Yes. In the article he details the number of security holes in each browser and the time they were left unpatched. There are some pretty convincing statistics from Scanit NV, an international security company.

IE suffered from unpatched security holes for 359 days in 2004

Attacks on IE weaknesses circulated “in the wild” for 200 of those days

Mozilla and Firefox patched all vulnerabilities before hacker code circulated

Whilst no one would suggest that Firefox is bug and security hole free it’s clear that whilst Firefox security holes are generally fixed within days in Internet Expolorer these fixes can take weeks and leave users vulnerable for much longer.

Firefox Extensions

Firefox is gaining in popularity all the time and the number of extensions available is vast. I thought I’d write about the extensions I either have used or find most usefull. The first and most valuable IMHO has to be the web developer toolbar by Chris Pendrick. The list of things you can do with this is huge, it’s a must have for any developer or web author. The rest I’ll list below (tooltips give desriptions):-

Firefox Zoooooom!

Firefox is, as far as I’m concerned the only browser you need these days and I’m still finding new stuff out about it. For example, today I happened to have my finger on the ctrl key when I moved my scroll wheel on the mouse. I was surprised to see the web page I was looking at immediately zoom in and out depending on which direction I moved the wheel. I haven’t seen this documented anywhere but I thought it was a pretty useful feature and worth noting here.

Firefox Tweeks

There are a number of things you can type in the location bar in Firefox to get more info and tweek a few things.

about: shows version number etc.

about:config Configuration Console.

about:cache summary of memory and file cache.

about:buildconfig compiler options used to create your version of Firefox.

about: plugins installed add-ons.

about:credits names of developers and testers who worked on the product.

In the configuration console there loads of settings to tweek but some of the most useful are: –

  • Fix a memory leak in Firefox 1.0: type about:config in address bar and hit enter. Right click anywhere on the list and select New, Integer then paste “browser.cache.memory.capacity” (without quotes) into dialogue box, then “16000” ie 16Mb into next dialogue box.
  • Speed up maximizing of Firefox: Create a new, Boolean value in about:config. Paste “config.trim_on_minimize” into the dialog box, click OK and change the choice to false.

There are also versions of Firefox and Thunderbird optimised for various CPU platforms at Moox There is also a useful article on getting the most out of Firefox

Firefox and Thunderbird

Just finished upgrading all my machines to Firefox 1.o and Thunderbird 0.9. The long awaited release of Firefox 1.0 was well worth the wait. Previous releases had not been the easiest to ugrade to and on one occassion I lost my profile and had to start from scratch. But the upgrade to v 1.0 went like a dream. Not only was it fast and efficient it checked all my plugins, extensions and themes for compatabiity and checked for upgrades.

Thunderbird is a great email client that just gets better all the time and v 0.9 is no exception. There’s no doubt about it thse Mozilla products blow MS away.

DaDaBIK ???? |\.-./|

At work I had been planning transferring my databases from MS Access to MySQL for some time and once the server had PHP and MySQL I moved from Access to MySQL. Now I needed a PHP front end to view and query the databases. I started pulling together some PHP scripts which partially did what I wanted but were proving difficult to mould to my needs. Then I found a fantastic free open source package called DaDaBik . As their web site states:

“DaDaBIK is a free PHP application that allows you to easily create a highly customizable front-end for a MySQL database in order to search, insert, update and delete records; all you need do is specify a few configuration parameters.”

I tested the system thoroughly and read as much as I could about DaDaBik before I deployed it. When I finally did I was pleasantly surprised at the ease and speed with which I got everything working they way I wanted. This is one of the most impressive pieces of software I’ve come across and can only thank the author, Eugenio Tacchini for a great product.

The Open CD

For some time now I have been involved with a local charity here in Clackmannanshire called ClacksNet. The main purpose of ClacksNet is to assist local community groups and organisations create a web presence for themselves. Rather than doing all the work for a group the idea is to train them to do it. We run training sessions in web design to show people how to create and maintain their own web sites. In the past we’ve used various programs to teach this but the problem has always been that people couldn’t carry on the work at home if they didn’t have the software. Enter Mozilla, I had the idea to use Mozilla to design and build web sites and as it’s free and open source we could give copies to our students. The next step was to offer not only Mozilla, but a whole range of free software to the students, so I set about creating a list of what we could include. Then I happened upon the Open CD project. A dowloadable CD image of free open source software (FOSS)….just what I was trying to come up with. I contacted the people at the project and told them that I wanted to give their CD away to students at our training events…no problem, in fact they even offered to let me change the splash screen on the CD to incorporate our logo, which I did.
ClacksNet Logo

The CD is packed with all sorts of open source programs, including Mozilla and the GIMP which are the two we’ll use during the courses.

The latest version of the CD promotes software freedom day

software freedom day

The idea is to promote the use and dissemination of FOSS (Free Open Source Software). I’m a keen advocate of FOSS and am glad to do my small bit to spread the word about software that is not only of very high quality but FREE.

Browse Happy

browse happy

This is the latest endeavour by the web standards project (WaSP). A strange title as I have never thought of browsing and an activity which generated emotions. Nevertheless this is an attempt to show the vast majority of people using MS Internet Explorer that there are other, better, nicer, cleaner…..alternatives out there. I posted my own story there a few days ago but haven’t heard a thing, so they probably won’t use it. Any effort to convert people to the ‘better’ browsers has got to be supported in my view, so I’m chipping in my pennies worth. Why not have a look and see what all the fuss is about?

Firefox and Thunderbird

I’ve just completed upgrading all my machines, both at home and at work to the latest versions of Firefox and Thunderbird. I’ve been using them both for quite some time now and I’m really impressed. I also decided to try out some of the extensions and themes available. One Firefox extension I’ve used for ages now is Web Developer by Chris Pederick. This is a must have for any developer or site designer. I also tried out Sage by Peter Andrews. This allows you to read RSS feeds in you browser with navigation in a I was using the excellentSharp Reader but Sage means I can read my RSS feeds without having to load another software package. Other Firefox extension worth noting are a couple of bookmak utilities, bookmark synchroniser which allows you to synch your bookmarks with an xml file on your ftp server. The other, Sort Bookmarks, simply organises your bookmarks in alphabetical order..which is nice 🙂 The only extension I’ve installed in TB so far is Contacts sidebar which lets you see you contacts in…well..a side bar.

On both TB and FF the theme I like at the moment is Noia extreme 2.0 Very nice indeed.

noia theme