Microsoft Edge reportedly flagged Firefox as ‘potentially harmful software’
Users on Reddit identified two separate instances of the browser flagging the reputed and open-source browser as software that could harm their device.
Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is a technology that is built in to the company’s Edge browser which analyses unknown files downloaded from the internet before they are can be executed on a device. While Microsoft’s scanner is usually very effective at detecting threats from the internet, it can sometimes unintentionally identify safe programs as dangerous -- such a Mozilla’s Firefox browser.
According to a recent report by Techdows, users have been reporting that Microsoft Edge has been blocking the popular open-source browser’s installers from the official website. This reportedly happens when downloading installers for the stable, beta, dev and nightly versions of the browser.
Users on Reddit identified two separate instances of the browser flagging the reputed and open-source browser as software that could harm their device. Users who attempted to download the browser were greeted with the message “Firefox installer.exe was blocked because it could harm your device”.
However, at the time of publishing this article, we tested the download on Microsoft Edge Beta on Linux found that it did not flag the Mozilla MSI and EXE installers as harmful software. It appears that the browser’s detection engine has finally been updated to stop identifying Mozilla’s software as potentially harmful software.
While detection of Mozilla’s browser might have simply been an accidental false positive, this isn’t the first time that a company has deterred users from using a rival service. It has previously been reported that the Facebook-owned WhatsApp Messenger was blocking links to the Telegram Messenger service on its Android app, which was reportedly fixed in a later update. Microsoft is yet to provide any statement on Edge’s blocking of Firefox, but we will update this story once it is released.