In the ongoing battle for protection against adware applications, there have been many people who recommended using Firefox browser instead of InternetExplorer. Indeed, many adware applications have not been compatible with Firefox and end users have been saved from annoying pop ups. Many affiliates have also recommended Firefox to their visitors providing a link to the browser on their sites in an effort to protect their revenue. I have always contended that folks should not become too comfortable with using Firefox to combat adware. It wasn’t so much that adware could not work with Firefox, but rather there probably wasn’t enough users utilizing Firefox yet to make it worth the effort by adware companies to program their software Firefox compatible. Any software can be exploited if someone really wants to put the effort into it.
I suppose all hard work of the online and webmaster community has paid off and the Firefox user market share has reached the critical threshold to make it worth some adware companies resources to program for Firefox compatibility. We can add WhenU to the growing list of adware applications able to deliver a pop up while surfing with Firefox. The screen shot to the right (click shot for full size view) shows a WhenU pop up received while browsing on 1800flowers.com using Firefox as the browser. The history of the WhenU install makes things a bit mroe interesting. Since we are seeing more adware applications which function more browsers than just InternetExplorer, we now set up all our test systems with both Opera and Firefox installed using their default settings. We use Internet Explorer as our default browser. On a clean test system and using InternetExplorer as our browser, we downloaded and installed a lyrics software program put out by Freeze.com. Whenu’s SaveNow! adware application was bundled with the Freeze.com software and also installed. You will notice the Freeze.com logo to the right of the WhenU logo in the above screen shot. There were also several other adware applications bundled with the Freeze.com program. The Firefox browser had never even been started on this clean test system at the time of installation. After the installation was complete, we then opened Firefox and captured the above screen shot. Of course, if we use InternetExplorer as our browser on this test system, we will also get pop up ads from WhenU. The potential ActiveX protection afforded by Firefox against adware would not have helped in this case, since the installation was not by ActiveX but rather through bundling. This isn’t to say that Firefox doesn’t provide protection over InternetExplorer. The majority of adware applications are IE only compatible. We just need to realize that it’s not impossible for adware applications to work with Firefox and some do. We can add WhenU to the list of adware that works with FireFox