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Many people around me panic with this. Says "Microsoft installed spyware to my computer". I think this is not real security problem. Just support for ClickOnce.

Is this a security threat?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

While the ClickOnce support installed by the .NET Framework Assistant is definitely not spyware (there are many other companies who install their plugins into FireFox the same way) you cannot rule out the possibility of a potential security threat.

Scott Hanselman at MS had a good write-up where he went over some of the details related to the Firefox extension and why it caused a panic.

http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HowToRemoveTheNETClickOnceFirefoxExtension.aspx

Some of the other applications that Scott lists as working with FireFox in a similar manner: Java, VLC Player, Adobe Acrobat, QuickTime, Google Talk/Google Gears, iTunes, Hulu, Picasa

You'll notice that some of these other addins have had substantial security threats associated with them so if you are really security conscious make sure you're looking at all of these addins, even if nobody wants to call them spyware.

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+1 For the Scott Hanselman article. –  Diago Aug 6 '09 at 6:58
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I would be concerned if you do not recognize the program. MS has been in hot water previously for the Windows Genuine Advantage software. It seems they installed it without fully disclosing what it does. For spyware it was pretty bad at even determining that you had a legit copy of windows. ARS Technica did a good article on this topic.

This program may not be spyware, however I recommend always paying close attention to any program that wants to run/ or is running already. As always... Caveat Emptor

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I uninstalled it simply because it has no benefit to me - and I like to try and keep my Firefox installation clean if possible.

It's probably not a security threat, just annoying and a waste of memory.

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"I like to try and keep my Firefox installation clean if possible" me too, mine is called "Google Chrome" –  Jeff Atwood Aug 5 '09 at 20:10
    
No benefit until you try to run a ClickOnce app in Firefox and can't figure out why it's not working right because you overtweaked your system in the name of "cleanliness" or whatever. –  Factor Mystic Aug 5 '09 at 21:50
    
As a tech blogger guy, I test software constantly. I can count the number of times I've needed to do that on 2 fingers. For those, I can open IE. –  The How-To Geek Aug 6 '09 at 1:55
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