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FireFox Recording Key Strokes and Mouse Clicks

by wayno74 / June 4, 2006 6:46 AM PDT

Just installed a new Internet Security Suite, and guess what? On a Spyware check, it informed me that the Firefox Browser was recording my mouse clicks and keystrokes and was sending them back to a server!

I always thought the Firefox was the most secure Browser -- acording to the New York Times -- I guess they got it wrong this time like most other times!

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It would be interesting ...
by Kees Bakker / June 4, 2006 6:57 AM PDT

to know which "Internet Security Suite" did this observation, and what exactly it observed.

I can't believe at the moment that an open source program like Firefox (using code that - in principle - you and me, in fact everybody, can study) contains a keyboard and mouse logger sending what I do to some obscure server.

Kees

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FireFox
by wayno74 / June 5, 2006 12:54 AM PDT

Thanks for your reply. I am running a dual boot 2000 Windows Pro system (second disk has a Linux version). My first Win2000 has all the normal standard software with Internet Explorer. My second Win2000 system is, or rather was loaded with Firefox, Netscape and Opera browsers.

After I installed Zonelabs' Internet Security Suite it immediately reported on my first scan that something called ALEXA TOOLBAR was capturing mouse clicks and recording keystrokes. I immediately deleted Netscape and rebooted. On my second scan, ZoneAlarm reported that Mozilla was capturing mouse clicks and recording keystrokes. I am not a fan of Internet Explorer and I always thought that Firefox was the most secure ---but now I am wondering.

I will attempt that test again with a new download of Firefox andI will let you know the results.

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Alexa Toolbar...
by John.Wilkinson / June 5, 2006 1:33 AM PDT
In reply to: FireFox

Alexa Toolbar is a Browser Helper Object (BHO) that's now offered by Amazon.com. Like most other toolbars, it offers a convenient internet search option, pop-up blocker, and helps detect phishing attacks. However, numerous anti-malware utilities detect it as spyware because everything it sends data back to Alexa about your searches and usage of it, including personally identifiable information. As a result of its intrusive behavior, I would remove it with prejudice.

Note, though, that Alexa Toolbar does not come bundled with Firefox, Mozilla Suite, etc. You must either download it yourself or have it included in some other package. Also note that Alexa Toolbar does not work with Firefox, Mozilla, or Netscape...it's only compatible with Internet Explorer. There are toolbars for Firefox that incorporate Alexa, but Alexa Toolbar itself is a no go. Those other toolbars are also not packaged with the Mozilla products...they must be installed separately with a user's express permission. (Has anyone else used your computer lately?)

Now, while it may have been right about Alexa Toolbar, I'm suspicious of it detecting Mozilla. What exactly is it reporting? (File name or process name?) I'm not sure if some piece of malware has placed itself in the same location as Firefox, if an extension you isstalled is causing the alarm, or ZoneAlarm is making a mistaken identification, but something ain't right there.

John

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Alexa Toolbar
by wayno74 / June 5, 2006 6:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Alexa Toolbar...

Thank you very much for your reply. It is very informative. I have deleted Alexa. I have also conducted another test of Firefox with ZoneAlert.

I tested a clean Win200Pro system with only internet Exploer loaded and ZoneAlert reported no Spyware. I then attempted to download a new copy of Firefox -- but before I could download, ZoneAlert informed me that Internet Explorer was attempting to capture mouse clicks and record keystrokes -- I denied that request. Apparently zoneAlert does work! I then downloaded Firefox and used it for a few minutes. After rebooting my system, I again instructed ZoneAlert to check for virus and Spyware -- and it reported no problems. Ialways liked Firefox and I will continue to use it.

My apology for any inconvience on this matter. And thanks again for your very informative reply.

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(NT) (NT) No inconvenience...glad we could help.
by mousearoma / June 5, 2006 7:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Alexa Toolbar
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Check your settings and...
by dreamsurfer63 / June 10, 2006 5:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Alexa Toolbar

If your settings are set too harshly, ZA could report a problem every time you try to access ANY web site! I'd suggest going throgh the help files and set-up files for ZA, and return to using Mozilla. I'd also ditch Norton's IS program, and if you use ANY of Norton's programs, I'd stick with antivirus (although I prefer NOD, as it seems they are on top of virus traffic quicker than Norton is currently IMHO.)

I use Spyware Blaster, Spybot Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware SE to keep spyware out, to snapshot my system and if by chance something does get through (hasn't happened but once in that last 2-3 years I've been using this configuration, but with an older version of Ad Aware), then the spy or malware is easily removed, AND all three of these programs are FREE AND if you get clean copies are free of spyware, etc. themselves! Happy

Hope this helps!

DS63

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Internet Exploder
by dreamsurfer63 / June 10, 2006 5:03 AM PDT
In reply to: FireFox

It seems to me that using Internet Explorer could be where you may have picked up something... IE is well known for it's security problems! My Foxfire and everyone I knows is fine! (and this includes many networks full of computers, including schools and a hospital!)

Using Internet Explorer for anything but emergencies is IMHO asking for trouble!

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And ...
by Kees Bakker / June 4, 2006 7:32 AM PDT

If I expect anything from a browser, it is that:
- if I type an url (like www.google.com) in the address bar, it sends that information to the google.com-server, or I wouldn't get an answer
- if I type a search term in the box on the page google sends me, that's sent to the google sever also, or I wouldn't get the answer I was looking for
- if I click with my mouse on one of the links in the answer, the server of that link is being informed that I did so, or I would never see what I was looking for

So in that respect, this security suite might be right. But I wouldn't call that spyware. Neither would you, I suppose.

In fact, you shouldn't be able to read this answer if Firefox (IE, in fact) didn't record my keystrokes and sent them to cnet.com. Does your security suite report IE as spyware also?


Kees

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re: And...
by dreamsurfer63 / June 10, 2006 5:22 AM PDT
In reply to: And ...

Thanks for clearing that up for this person... I think this may be why (on some settings) Norton IS may be reading what this person has going on as "malware" by keystroke and mouse click stuff.. Maybe this is why I never liked Norton's IS program. It falsely reports WAY too many problems, but this could very possibly be why! :::shaking head::: Happy

They make a pretty good Antivirus prpgram, but I'll stick to NOD & Linux myself! Happy

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Alexa
by Dynochem / June 8, 2006 9:37 PM PDT
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careful ppl
by hothta / June 9, 2006 8:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Alexa

it is ad-aware any other way might get you a virus
there was a report on this guys

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Getting rid of Alexa(& other malware/spyware and prevention)
by dreamsurfer63 / June 10, 2006 5:14 AM PDT
In reply to: careful ppl

I would use Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware to clean up messes & Spyware Blaster to help block future malware and spyware from your computer BUT you have to make sure you get CLEAN copies of these programs (read the feedback from those who've used these and where they got them from on cnet.com is a pretty reliable place, but CHECK THE SOURCES!!! This will be a good exercise for you, so that in the future you'll be careful not to download whatever from whereever!!!)

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Firefox is clean but...
by Zouch / June 9, 2006 9:35 AM PDT

A clean Firefox downloaded from Mozilla is free of adware and spyware. BUT some of the third party extensions and toolbars may not be. So if you want secure browsing, use Firefox but be very careful what extensions you add.

Incidentally, my ZA SS also flags IE 7 Beta as tracking keystrokes and mouse clicks on first use. I also deny it with no problems, though I only use IE for Windows Update (because I don't use extensions in Firefox!).

ZA SS also flags the latest Windows Genuine Advantage, once for trying to "Access and alter memory" and again for transmitting data to M$. I deny both of these also with no problems.

Regards.

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Cyberhawk told me Firefox was logging keystrokes
by finalmanlate / December 24, 2006 11:18 PM PST

Befor I installed the latest version of Firefox I had NO PROBLEMS.However,along with version 2.0.0.1 of Firefox I happened to install the yahoo toolbar. Is it coincidence that I then started to get dire warnings that Firefox was logging key strokes? Upon reading your comments I uninstalled The Yahoo toolbar as it is the only new add on I had. After the removal of this toolbar I have had no more warnings of any kind! I like Firefox and have used it as my main browser for over a year, and am glad I found your post as I was about to ditch Firefox completly and use Opera (my second browser )instead. Thank you.
Chris

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Norton vs. Open Source and other things you downloaded
by dreamsurfer63 / June 10, 2006 4:55 AM PDT

Personally, I'm not a fan of Norton Internet Security. This is my least favorite of Norton's products. If it is telling you that your Foxfire is recording keystrokes and mouse clicks, you might want to check where those keystrokes and mouseclicks are going - certainly not to Mozilla. My guess is that you either downloaded yur Foxfire from a site with what we refer to as a "dirty copy", or that you picked up some malware along the way.

In addition, you have to remember that Norton is NOT free and I've seen & heard of many people with Norton IS telling them their antispyware programs have spyware (and other companies have set their anti-spy-ware to show that other anti-spy-ware companies' software contains or is spyware.)

If it were me, I'd ditch Norton IS and buy a better antivirus program & use respectable anti-spy-ware programs, find where the supposed or real addition to Foxfire is located manually and get rid of that, as Mozilla's Foxfire is open-source for a reason, so you can edit it, put add-ons for what you use, etc. Aparently you MAY have picked up a bad add-on, or worse downloaded a dirty copy from a non-mozilla site (and there are some that exist!) My Mozilla and everyone I know's is fine!

I know of one person that bought Norton IS and came up with supposedly all kinds of spyware, etc. (most of which is freeware), and it seems that they don't like freeware competing with them, so this person (very unwisely) got rid of the good antispyware programs they had, and are now totally relying on Norton to keep them safe from everything. Needless to say, I doubt I will EVER work on their computer again. I have NO desire to and politely told the owner at teh office that he needed to have one tech, and that I didn't like cleaning up other people's messes (with the underlying message that he'd already chose his tech, and will end up paying the consequences because he has an office staff person that in incompetant & even worse, has sabotaged some computer stuff.)

Anyhow, relying on what one program says for ALL your security is not incredibly wise. Norton makes a pretty darn good antivirus program, but when it comes to firewalls, spy and malware, they tend to lack where they need to be workling and seem to be working when it's just competative software IMHO.

Be sure you got a clean copy of Foxfire direct from mozilla.org and be careful what websites and add-ons (plug-ins) you download.

For antivirus ware, I'd look to NOD. For anti-spy ware, there are plenty of places on cnet.com that have many, many reviews from those who know what's up.

If you don't know how to decompile a program, then don't assume the problem is from where a program says it is, as there are often rerouters, and in this case, it seems like it might be a plug-in to Foxfire, but where did you get that from???

Bottom line is not to download ANYTHING from the Internet unless you know what you are downloading and who you are getting it from!!! That also goes for visiting pages you don't know and opening email you don't know!

Because it is malware you appear to have and it appears to be attached to your browser, it is likely from another source. I'd send a copy of the file to someone in mozilla's boards who can decompile it and tell you where your info is going (if in fact it's going anywhere) or if its just Norton IS giving false info, which I've seen before - they don't like competition!

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What he said... and more
by Dynochem / June 13, 2006 10:22 AM PDT

I recently ditched Norton after 5 years for the same reasons, PLUS it is very CPU intensive and slows your boot up time.

NOD32 is the only one to install...
1.You'd hardly know it's there.
2.Read the awards on their site... nothing gets past it.
3.It updates HOURLY
(with Norton, it's every Wednesday unless you manually update... thats why blaster hit everyone I know on the Monday morning after it was released on the Sunday night!
Do Norton think the hackers write & release virus nasties to suit their update schedule?)

I teamed Nod32 up with the Free MacAfee Firewall and have no problems since.

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Firefox browser
by Michael00360 / June 13, 2006 6:30 AM PDT

It could be that another piece of software identifying itself as Firefox is recording the keystrokes, or you do not have a legit version of the program. it could also be the software saying that Firefox is recording the keystrokes. It's hard to say without more information or background. As far as I know, Firefox does not need to record keystrokes.

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But Where do you get Clean Copies?
by djdevnull / June 14, 2006 2:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Firefox browser

Everyone posted some very useful information about FireFox and Ad an Spyware,but left out one important part.Where do you get clean copies of the programs you mentioned and/or how do you tell if its not a clean copy?There are so many places to download free software these days how do you tell if its clean?

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If possible always download from the author...
by glenn30 / June 14, 2006 5:06 AM PDT

Here is the download site for Firefox:

http://www.mozilla.com/firefox/

Suggest that any previous version be completely removed and any remnant files before installing the new clean download.

Good luck!

Glenn

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