How popular can a piece of software get before being in "beta" is no longer a legitimate excuse for known software flaws? Or, to put it another way, is it responsible to allow hundreds of thousands of people to install your product, when you know ahead of time that doing so opens them up to attack?
The software visionaries at the Mozilla Corporation, which makes the popular Firefox web browser, have taken the approach that creativity and functionality is king--even if security has to take a backseat. Case in point: The widely praised "Ubiquity" software add-on, which brings an amazingly rich and extensible new form of interaction to the Firefox Web browser.
The technology press has showered praise upon the developers of this software tool. However, in prioritizing functionality over security, Mozilla Labs punted complex trust choices to end users--the vast majority of whom are ill-equipped to make such decisions. The end result is that the hundreds of thousands of users of Ubiquity face a significant risk of browser hijacking by attackers, which could result in the theft of e-mail and online banking account information.
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