1

I know this appears to be a duplicate. It's been brought up a dozen times on meta.stackoverflow.com. I've read many of them, but none of them really describe my scenario which I've been unable to solve.

Within the last few days, my Firefox (version 24.0) started giving me this error in a red bar across the top of the browser window any time I go to any stackoverflow.com site:

Meta Stack Overflow requires external JavaScript from another domain, which is blocked or failed to load.

(This example is from meta.stackoverflow.com.)

Here are some pieces of information:

  • It's only happening in Firefox. Chrome and IE are still working fine
  • I have tried a variety of settings in Firefox, including SAFE MODE, and the problem still occur (even while in safe mode)
  • I've cleared the cache, I've rebooted, and the problem persists
  • I've checked my network settings, I don't use a proxy.
  • I went to Security Settings and added ajax.googleapis.com as an "Exception" and the problem persists.
  • I am only running Microsoft Windows Essentials antivirus on Windows 7. No special firewall or anti-adware software. I have a router based firewall on my network which hasn't changed in a very long time (again, my other browsers are working fine on stackoverflow.com).
  • Everything was truly working fine for a very long time when at some point I had some weird problem happen in Firefox where it would randomly start playing some kind of weird music in the background and I would have to restart it. This went on for a couple of days and I finally uninstalled Firefox and reinstalled it which got rid of that problem. My stackoverflow problem appears to have occurred shortly after that (not immediately). I don't know if they're related, but I'll just say that it's a bit "suspicious".
  • I'm no longer able to use stackoverflow.com with Firefox due to this problem.

I think I've mentioned everything important. I can't think of anything else to try. I tried the things suggested on the other similar problem reports, things which seem to have solved the issue for others, but not for my case. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be interested.

EDIT It was previously only a problem with Firefox, and now I'm getting it with Chrome as well. So I'm down to using IE to make this edit. The problem arose right after I added a comment to a stackoverflow.com post.

So far the problem seems to be limited to stackoverflow.com, but I don't do a lot of web browsing during the course of a day, so it's difficult to tell.

  • 3
    The music thing sounds suspiciously like a virus to me. – Undo Oct 11 '13 at 2:55
  • Have you tried any other browser? I have to use Safari for my online banking currently but I use Chrome everywhere else. Never had any issue like this... – Aaron Bertrand Oct 11 '13 at 2:59
  • @Undo It does, but it only affected Firefox. I did a lot of searching of that problem and ended up removing, cleaning out, and reinstalling Firefox. That problem is gone. This new one came a day or so later. – lurker Oct 11 '13 at 3:00
  • @AaronBertrand As I described in my problem statement, I have Chrome and IE installed and they do work fine. I prefer Firefox especially as I have my bookmarks synced across a couple of different systems. This problem appears currently to be unique to Firefox in my case, but I've seen it reported for other browsers, at least IE and Chrome. – lurker Oct 11 '13 at 3:01
  • By "Microsoft Windows Essentials antivirus" do you mean "Microsoft Security Essentials"? – doppelgreener Oct 11 '13 at 3:08
  • It's possible you have something else trying to tell Firefox pages to load some JavaScript from elsewhere, and it is 404'd or blocked by MSE. Does your Firefox have any extensions? – doppelgreener Oct 11 '13 at 3:09
  • @JonathanHobbs, yes MS Windows Essentials, sorry about that. And I ran Firefox in safe mode which doesn't load any extensions and it exhibits the problem. – lurker Oct 11 '13 at 3:11
4

TBH that sounds exactly like adware or some kind of malware.

The first thing I would do is get malwarebytes and do a full scan. I also recommend you download Comodo Internet Security and do a scan with that aswell, and use that as your new AV system. The music is most likely comming from an ad running in the background.

Alot of online video sites have been promoting what sounds like the same ads where users create their own music videos and promote them. Sometimes they will sneak by and start playing in the background. My guess though is that you may have a malware infection that is promoting the same spam. It sounds like it is hijacking FF.

That is why you need an alternative to MSE ASAP. Again, I recommend you download Malwarebytes and Comodo Internet Security.

As for the Meta Stack Overflow javascript error, it sounds like exactly Jonathan Hobbs suggested. The Malware/adware is trying to load up some javascript, and either MSE or your new firefox installation is blocking it, you may have had an older version before. IMO a textbook case of a browser hijacking with javascript injection.

  • Thanks, I will try your suggestions. I just started getting the problem with Chrome now, so I'm down to just using IE, now that the problem occurs with Chrome and Firefox. It's weird: like a disease. – lurker Oct 11 '13 at 11:08
  • OK I tried MalwareBytes and did a complete, detailed scan. It said it found 28 issues, all of which I removed and rebooted. I was able to access stackoverflow.com without error for about 5 mintues, then the error came back. :-/ I'll check the Comodo as well. The error, btw, only seems to occur on the <whatever>.stackoverflow.com sites. – lurker Oct 11 '13 at 20:43
  • I just installed Comodo Antivirus and did a scan. It claimed it didn't find anything, but then I was able to access SO from FF after the scan. Do I need both Comodo and MSE running, or will Comodo do everything MSE does and then some? – lurker Oct 11 '13 at 21:53
  • It's been humming along pretty good with the free version of Comodo Antivirus running. Maybe it will stick. :) Can I disable MSE, or is it needed to complement Comodo? – lurker Oct 12 '13 at 1:05
  • You can run them together, but it is not recommended as it can interfere with Comodo. Keep MSE installed but go ahead and disable it and if you ever feel you want to be extra sure about a file, or do a full scan of your PC you can use it. CIS can do everything MSE can do plus more. Keep using Malwarebytes along with CIS and you should be okay. Did you download Just the antivirus or the whole Comodo Internet Security suite? If the former I would suggest you go with the suite as it has the built in firewall/connection encryption plus more.You can get the free version of CIS aswell. – user1632018 Oct 12 '13 at 4:22
  • So it only happens on the SO subdomains? Had you verified it did not happen on subdomains on other websites? Good to hear that you aren't having issues ATM. Hopefully it does not come back. – user1632018 Oct 12 '13 at 4:27
  • I only observed the problem on SO sites. During that time I've been to Amazon, Facebook, and a few random places with no issue. I'm thinking that doesn't mean other sites weren't going to be a problem, but it seemed to be connected to something specific about SO's javascript activity. I'll observe the solution for a few more days to see if it sticks. – lurker Oct 12 '13 at 11:14
  • I'm happy to disable MSE if I don't need it, so that's good. I believe I only installed the antivirus. I was trying not to go overkill and have the system do a lot of extra processing in the background for nothing. I have a thoughtfully configured firewall in my router. But I will go back and check out CIS. From the site description it looks like CAV is free, but CIS is free trial. – lurker Oct 12 '13 at 11:42
  • Only the premium version is trial. Here is the product page, you can see the benefits. The button that says free download will d/l the free version of CIS. I do understand what you are saying about performance, but in this day and age you can never be too secure. An AV alone and expecially MSE isn't usually enough to make sure you are always malware free. – user1632018 Oct 12 '13 at 16:08
  • Thanks I'll double check that page. :) But when you click on the "download free version" the file name is cispremium_installer.exe so I figured it was one of those, "it's free.... for 30 days" or something like that. – lurker Oct 12 '13 at 19:09
  • Oops sorry, the comment before I said the premium version is a trial. The premium version is actually the free version and the professional version is a trial. I confused myself for a minute. I use the premium version of CIS everyday and I have been for a few years, it is free as in free beer, and I couldn't be happier. I use Comodo Internet Security, Malwatebytes, and System Mechanic to keep my pc tuned up and it runs just as quick as the day I bought it and I have ALOT of applications and files. – user1632018 Oct 12 '13 at 21:10
  • System Mechanic is not free though, but I can say it was one of the best software investments I have ever made. – user1632018 Oct 12 '13 at 21:12
  • Thanks, again, for the great suggestions. :) – lurker Oct 12 '13 at 21:17

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