Fake Firefox update alerts, such as “Firefox requires a manual update” and “Important Firefox update available” are scams whose landing pages urge people to install an update for their Mozilla Firefox browser. However, this is nothing but a hoax, a fake update alert actually tries to install an add-on that would hijack the browser for malicious activities. Fake update alerts have nothing to do with Mozilla or Firefox – they’re created and spread by malicious actors.
Firefox Requires A Manual Update Scam quicklinks
- The “Firefox requires a manual update” scam installs a malicious extension
- The fake Firefox updates are persistent
- What malware, adware is spread by the fake Firefox updates
- How to avoid fake Firefox updates
- How to stop fake Firefox update ads
- How to remove “Firefox Requires a Manual Update” Scam using Windows Control Panel
- Automatic Malware removal tools
The “Firefox requires a manual update” scam is a fresh one and some people might believe it to be legitimate, especially when it is more sophisticated than many other fake updates.
The “Firefox requires a manual update” scam installs a malicious extension
The fake Firefox updates are persistent
If you ever encounter the “Firefox requires a manual update” or “Important Firefox update available” alert, you might find it difficult to escape. This is because the page is reloading an iframe, automatically sending a post request to another page. Because of this feature, the malicious page can hijack the browser.
If you accidentally click anywhere on the fake Firefox update page, the message might expand to full screen and download files automatically.
We’ve noticed that some “Firefox requires a manual update” pages used to insert cookies into computers. They would use them to track your online activities, potentially leaking your personally identifiable information to unreliable sources. This could be used for more than just by advertisers to show you more effective ads. Criminals use personal information for phishing attacks which could effectively steal your passwords. Luckily, Firefox blocks 3rd party cookies by default.
What malware, adware is spread by the fake Firefox updates
The rogue Firefox update might try to install an unwanted add-on, such as the v15_15.0.xpi add-on which is currently not detected by many anti-malware applications. Once the extension is installed, it forces users to visit affiliate links. And when someone clicks on a promoted website, the controllers of the extension make money.
While extensions are always a bit iffy (Browser Extensions Are a Privacy Nightmare: Stop Using So Many of Them), malicious extensions can cause real harm by injecting ads and stealing private information.
Disturbingly, some “Firefox requires a manual update” scams would install a crypto miner. Such an app would silently mine cryptocurrency for malicious actors and severely slow down your computer. We have discussed a similar situation before, but then Google Chrome was targeted.
In the past, Mozilla Firefox used to be targeted by such scams because some browser extensions or other applications could be installed on it without authorization. This no longer applies as Firefox shows permission requests before installing extensions. Still, malicious extensions and desktop programs continue to be promoted by “Firefox requires a manual update”, “Important Firefox update available”, and other scams.
You might ask: why would hackers go through so much trouble to install a browser extension? Well, some malicious add-ons – those that show ads, mine cryptocurrencies, track your online activities, force you to visit certain sites, commit ad fraud, possibly even steal info (such as payment details) – can make crooks a lot of money.
How to avoid fake Firefox updates
How and why to deal with the fake Firefox update alerts:
|Harm||Exposed private information,
computer hijacked for crypto mining.
|Solution||Remove the v15_15.0.xpi extension,
avoid websites that publish malicious ads.
To avoid fake Firefox update alerts, do not install unknown or untrustworthy programs. When you download free software, go to the developer sites. Freeware sites tend to bundle installers in adware bundles that may skean adware on your device. And adware causes malicious ads, such as fake Firefox update alerts.
You might also want to avoid shady sites that show aggressive pop-up ads – or use an ad blocker. Some websites get infected with malicious ads, while controversial sites (such as pirating sites) show these ads voluntarily.
How to stop fake Firefox update ads
If the fake Firefox update site hijacked your browser, there are many keyboard shortcuts that you can use to escape.
If you encounter fake update alerts and other malicious ads often, you should install a reliable ad blocker to avoid deceptive advertisements.
You might also check whether there’s an adware program on your computer that’s causing the malicious ads to show up. Look for suspicious programs on your computer and remove them. You might find adware easier with the help of anti-malware apps, such as Spyhunter for Windows or Spyhunter for Mac.
How to remove “Firefox Requires a Manual Update” Scam using Windows Control PanelMany hijackers and adware like “Firefox requires manual update” scam install some of their components as regular Windows programs as well as additional software. This part of malware can be uninstalled from the Control Panel. To access it, do the following.
- Start→Control Panel (older Windows) or press Windows Key→Search and enter Control Panel and then press Enter (Windows 8, Windows 10).
- Choose Uninstall Program (if you don't see it, click in the upper right next to "View by" and select Category).
- Go through the list of programs and select entries related to “Firefox Requires a Manual Update” Scam . You can click on "Name" or "Installed On" to reorder your programs and make “Firefox requires manual update” scam easier to find.
- Click the Uninstall button. If you're asked if you really want to remove the program, click Yes.
- In many cases anti-malware programs are better at detecting related parasites, thus I recommend installing Spyhunter to identify other programs that might be a part of this infection.
Automatic Malware removal tools