Whenever a new Firefox version gets released, chances are quite high that Mozilla will push out an update soon thereafter to fix a issue in the browser that was not discovered during development. It is the same for Firefox 16, the latest stable release version of the browser released on Tuesday this week.
A security vulnerability was detected in the version that forced Mozilla to do something that I believe it has never done before: pull Firefox 16 from the Mozilla website and ask existing users to downgrade their version of the browser to Firefox 15.0.1, the previous stable version of Firefox.
The company is working on a fix for the issue and plans to ship an update later today. Firefox 16 and Firefox 15.0.1 should receive the update automatically, provided that the automatic update feature of the browser has not been disabled.
Mozilla is keeping tight lipped about the vulnerability, but notes that it needs to be run on websites and that there are currently no signs of it being exploited in the wild.
The vulnerability could allow a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited and have access to the URL or URL parameters. At this time we have no indication that this vulnerability is currently being exploited in the wild.
As far as downgrading goes, the blog post refers to a page on how to do that on the Mozilla website that unfortunately does not contain any information. If you want to downgrade Firefox, simply download Firefox 15.0.1 to your computer and run the installer afterwards. This will replace Firefox 16 with the newly downloaded older version. Expect to be updated to Firefox 16.0.1 in the next 24 hour period though.
Another option would be to switch to a secondary browser for that time, and start using Firefox again once the security vulnerability in the browser has been dealt with.
Update: Firefox 16.0.1 is now available on the Mozilla website and via automatic updates.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.