Firefox To Add Search Engine Hijacking Warnings To Browser

BrowserFame reports the latest “nightly channel” of the Firefox browser, version 19, is warning browser users when it appears someone is hijacking the search engine results.

This is to warn users when they may be “falling victim” to “search hijacking” according to the feature page. The page goes on to explain how the feature works in more detail:

Some of these cases are triggered by aggressive malware that wants to steal search referrals, but other cases can be resolved by us simply resetting the pref to its default value once:

- poorly written add-ons that legitimately change the pref, but programmatically such that removing the add-on doesn’t revert the change
- sketchy software installations might do a one-time change of the pref value in the user’s profile
- users may have unintentionally change the pref value, or may have been encouraged to modify it by a “tweaks” site, without realizing that this leaves them susceptible to brokenness in the future ( is no longer being maintained, and might go away at some point)

There are two cases we can detect:
- pref is changed, and the hostname is different (e.g. switched from the default of Google to
- pref is changed, and only parameters are different (e.g. user customized to a specific type of Google search, or referral codes where added)

In either case, we could prompt the user and offer to reset the keyword.URL value to the default after they trigger a search from the location bar (with perhaps a slightly different string for each).

Related Topics: Channel: Content | Firefox


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide