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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Firefox

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

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?