Risk
5/4/2009
06:00 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

NoScript Developer Apologizes For Meddling With AdBlock

His methods caused a furor in the Mozilla community over the weekend because he did not provide clear notification about what his software was doing.

The developer of the popular NoScript add-on for Firefox on Monday issued a sweeping apology for abusing the trust of those who had installed his software and for violating Mozilla's rules for add-on developers.

"I beg you to accept my most sincere apologies and believe in my shame and contrition," concluded Giorgio Maone, creator of the JavaScript-blocking extension NoScript, at the end of a lengthy statement of regret. "I know I've done something horrible, creating a scandal like the Mozilla community never had faced before and betraying the trust of many, many people. Please help me to repair the damage I've caused with my errors."

Maone's sin was to interfere with the operation of another popular Firefox extension, Adblock Plus, through JavaScript code added to his NoScript extension. He created a version of NoScript that altered Adblock Plus to whitelist the ads on his site, NoScript.net, so that they would not be blocked, thereby ensuring his continued ability to earn revenue from the ads.

Maone is not the first Web site owner to seek a way to prevent ads on his site from being blocked. But his methods caused a furor in the Mozilla community over the weekend because he did not provide clear notification about what his software was doing and because he did not seek user consent.

In so doing, Maone's actions became indistinguishable from those of a malware author. "Clearly, NoScript is moving from the gray area of adware into dark black area of scareware, making money at user's expense at any cost," observed Wladimir Palant, author of Adblock Plus, in a blog post about the incident.

Maone takes issue with Palant's claim that his code was obfuscated -- written to be difficult to read, a practice common among malware authors. But he states in his post that he wants to focus on apologizing rather than rebutting alleged inaccuracies.

It remains to be seen how much damage Maone's actions have done to the viability of NoScript. Many users posting about the incident promised to uninstall the extension. But some have accepted Maone's apology. Others took the opportunity to question the ethics of ad blocking.

"It must be particularly hard to have a lesson in ethics from Adblock, that charmingly unethical piece of software based on the principle that 'other people should look at ads so that *I* can enjoy content without inconvenience,' " reads one comment posted beneath Maone's mea culpa.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8142
Published: 2014-12-20
Use-after-free vulnerability in the process_nested_data function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.re in PHP before 5.4.36, 5.5.x before 5.5.20, and 5.6.x before 5.6.4 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted unserialize call that leverages improper handling of duplicate keys w...

CVE-2013-4440
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 generates weak non-tty passwords, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the password via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2013-4442
Published: 2014-12-19
Password Generator (aka Pwgen) before 2.07 uses weak pseudo generated numbers when /dev/urandom is unavailable, which makes it easier for context-dependent attackers to guess the numbers.

CVE-2013-7401
Published: 2014-12-19
The parse_request function in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a URI without a " " or "?" character in an ICAP request, as demonstrated by use of the OPTIONS method.

CVE-2014-2026
Published: 2014-12-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the search functionality in United Planet Intrexx Professional before 5.2 Online Update 0905 and 6.x before 6.0 Online Update 10 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the request parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.