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Firefox will block DLL Injections

Mozilla Firefox will soon block the injection of DLLs by antivirus applications and other third-party programs in an effort to improve stability, security, and privacy.

Antivirus applications on Windows and other third-party applications, e.g. other security software or PDF tools, may inject DLLs in the browser. These injections are known to cause stability issues for users.

Mozilla follows Google which started to block third-party code injections in Google Chrome in 2018. Google discovered that Chrome installations with third-party DLL injection crashed 15% more than Chrome installations without.

Mozilla started to investigate options to disable DLL injections in Firefox in the fourth quarter of 2016 but things picked up speed only recently.

Firefox Nightly, the cutting edge version of the Firefox browser, blocks DLL injections already. The feature will be integrated in Beta and Release versions of the Firefox browser when they hit version 66.

Firefox Beta will hit version 66 on January 29, 2019, and Firefox Stable version 66 on March 19, 2019 according to the release schedule.

How do you know whether the protective feature is enabled already? That’s easy. Just open about:support in the browser’s address bar and check the Launcher Process listing near the top.

firefox launcher process dll injection

If it states enabled it is active; if it states disabled or is not present, it is inactive.

Firefox users can disable the feature currently and it is likely that the turn-off option remains a feature in Beta and Stable as well.

Go to about:config?filter=browser.launcherProcess.enabled to display the preference in Firefox. Note that the link returns the preference only if it exists.

Double-click on it to set it to True or False. True means that the launcher process is enabled, False that it is disabled. Firefox blocks DLL Injections by third-party applications if the preference is set to true.

firefox launcher process

Firefox users (and Chrome users) may experience issues with their browsers or applications that attempt to inject DLLs into the browsers. Third-party developers may need to update their applications to remove the DLL injecting components from the applications or exclude browsers that block these attempt anyway.

Closing Words

DLL injections have always caused stability issues on Windows; Google discovered a 15% more crashes in Chrome browsers with DLL injections than without. Mozilla did not reveal any statistics but it is likely that the figure is in the same region. (via Techdows)

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