Ubuntu: Can Firefox add-on damage to the system?



Question:

Can Firefox add-on damage to the system? why no need root access to install them?


Solution:1

Browser install plugins inside the user's home directory and are only in use for that user.

Can Firefox add-on damage to the system?

Yes. But there are a few things to consider.

  • plugins tend to be downloaded from the browsers's own homepage and as of today we can trust Mozilla. Downloading them from random sites is a Windows mentality we should all avoid.
  • problems tend to come from bugs in those plugins.
  • as long as your "sudo" password is safe problems tend to be local (ie. related to that user; not the whole system).

Why no need root access to install them?

Now you seem to misunderstanding something. Plugins requiring sudo that would be WORSE than a plugin without needing sudo. If the plugin has a keyboard logger and a method to send what you type to the owner of the plugin...


Solution:2

Firefox add-ons should not damage the system, depending on two things:

The reason not root access is the addon is installed in your Firefox user profile in your home area - this is inside a hidden folder in ~/.mozilla, e.g. ~/.mozilla/firefox/XXXXXXXX.default. The profile Firefox uses on startup is configured in ~/.mozilla/firefox/profiles.ini, and get be edited by closing firefox and running firefox -P. Note your user profile contains your browsing data, bookmarks, web history, addons etc, so if you delete it because of an addon you will likely lose the other information

To disable an extension, press Ctrl+Shift+A, open 'Tools'>'Add-ons', or enter about:addons into the address bar. You can then enable and disable extensions under the 'Extensions', themes under 'Appearance', etc.


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