Mozilla was attempting to break the world record for the largest number of software downloads performed in a 24 hour period when it released the latest version of its free browser, Firefox 3. Unconfirmed figures have shown that the record has been broken, with a staggering 8.3 million downloads in that period. However, it has fallen victim to its own success.
Firefox has long been a popular alternative to the Internet Explorer range of browsers partially because of the increased security that it offers. Fewer hackers and malware authors targeted Firefox because it wasn’t as omnipresent as Microsoft’s software. Because of the success and possibly the planned record attempt, though, security firms have found a potential flaw that hackers can use to gain access to the resident PC.
Another problem occurred almost as soon as the record attempt began, with servers going down under the pressure of so many attempted downloads. The record attempt subsequently began when the problem was fixed.
Download and server logs have now been forwarded to Oregon State University to verify the exact number of downloads and remove duplicate and failed attempts from the list. The process of verification is expected to take several days, perhaps as long as a week, but the record claim will be either confirmed or rebuked at that time.