Mozilla started protecting the hidden preference “keyword.URL” of Firefox browser which generally is targeted by third-party programs to change awesome bar search provider with theirs with/without user consent, not any more! as upcoming Firefox version warns if a program or user himself modifies this preference and allows the user to restore default search provider from the warning dialog shown on the screen.

A much needed security feature has been added to Firefox 19 version which is currently in beta warns user if the Search provider in Location bar has been changed by third-party program or manually by user through about:config, this not applies to search provider in the Search bar. keyword.URL is the hidden setting being targeted by third party programs to replace the awesomebar search provider with of theirs.

No More Search Provider hijacking in Firefox

For instance in the past, with the install of AVG 2013 and earlier versions AVG Secure Search  will be installed as default search engine in browser, after that when user starts to search from address bar they will be redirected to isearch.avg and search results will be generated from that site. What happened behind the scenes is keyword.URL preference in about:config has been modified by this software.

From Firefox 19 onwards you’ll be alerted for these kind of changes where Firefox shows info bar on top with the message “Firefox is using ‘x.com’ for searches from the location bar. Would you like to restore the default search (Google)?“ with the options “Yes, use Google” or “No, continue using ‘x.com’ ” if the change is initiated by the user.

restore default search provider warning shown by Firefox

Does this help programs from changing search provider of Firefox? Share with us in comments.