Oops! Mozilla forgets Firefox 2 patch, must re-issue update

It's 'embarrassing,' but users are not at risk, says browser maker.

A "clerical error" by Mozilla Corp. omitted one of the security patches that was supposed to be included in the Windows version of yesterday's Firefox 2.0.0.19 release, a company executive said today.

"We don't believe users are at risk right now," said Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox. Beltzner declined to pinpoint the missing patch -- one of 10 in the update -- to make it more difficult for attackers to take advantage of the snafu. "I can tell you that it's not one of the severe vulnerabilities and there are no known exploits for it," he said.

Mozilla will release Firefox 2.0.0.20, which will include the omitted patch, as early as Friday and no later than Monday.

Tuesday's update was supposed to be the last for Firefox 2.0, which is slated for retirement. Instead, Mozilla plans to call it quits with Firefox 2.0.0.20.

Only the Windows version was affected by the mistake; the Mac and Linux editions contain all 10 fixes.

"Due to a clerical error, and this is embarrassing, we forgot to include one of the patches," said Beltzner. "That means Firefox 2.0.0.19 is not identical across platforms."

Firefox 2.0.0.19 was supposed to include five patches labeled "critical," one "high," two "moderate" and two "low" in Mozilla's four-step scoring system. Of the four in the two less-severe categories, the most serious could be used by attackers to steal information from a user while browsing.

As per its policy, Mozilla was to officially retire the older browser Tuesday, but it must now delay that until Version 2.0.0.20 is available. Mozilla has been aggressively urging users to upgrade to Firefox 3.0, which was launched last June, and since then has twice offered Firefox 2.0 users an update, most recently two weeks ago. Mozilla estimated today that approximately 2 million users have accepted the second upgrade.

The company plans to make one final offer early next month.

When Mozilla wraps up its testing, it will post Firefox 2.0.0.20 on its Web site for download. Users will also be able to retrieve it via Firefox's built-in updater, or they can wait for the automatic update notification to appear.

Mozilla isn't the only software maker that has had to reissue an update. Last June, for example, Microsoft Corp. rereleased a patch for Windows XP's implementation of Bluetooth because the fix didn't really fix anything. And in September, Apple Inc. was forced to repeat a release of iTunes 8.0 after a buggy driver crashed Windows Vista PCs with the dreaded "blue screen of death."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Firefox

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?