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What Mozilla users should know about the shell: protocol security issue

On July 7 a security vulnerability affecting browsers for the Windows operating system was reported to by Keith McCanless, and was subsequently posted to Full Disclosure, a public security mailing list. On the same day, the Mozilla security team confirmed the report of this security issue affecting the Mozilla Application Suite, Firefox, and Thunderbird and discussed and developed the fix at Bugzilla bug 250180. We have confirmed that the bug affects only users of Microsoft's Windows operating system. The issue does not affect Linux or Macintosh users.

On July 8th, the Mozilla team released a configuration change which resolves this problem by explicitly disabling the use of the shell: external protocol handler. The fix is available in two forms. The first is a small download which will make this configuration adjustment for the user. The second fix is to install the newest full release of each of these products. Instructions on administering these changes can be found below.

How to update

Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird users on Microsoft Windows operating systems should update in one of the following ways.

We value our users' safety and security and will continue to make all efforts to release secure products and respond quickly when security vulnerabilities are identified in our software. Future versions of Mozilla Firefox will include automatic update notifications, which will make it even easier for users to be alerted to security fixes. The Mozilla Security Team would like to thank Keith McCanless for the original bug report and test case, and apologize for incorrectly omitting mention of his report in the initial version of this document.