New, easier-to-update Flash designed to snuff out malware attacks

Adobe Flash logoAdobe has released a long-awaited update to its Flash Player that allows users to apply security patches with no prodding.

The background updater, which Adobe announced in a blog post published on Tuesday, is designed to better protect users against malware attacks that exploit newly discovered vulnerabilities in the ubiquitous media player. Over the past few years, organized crime gangs and spy rings have milked such zero-day flaws to surreptitiously install keyloggers and other data-stealing software on vulnerable machines. The new mechanism is intended to reverse that trend by reducing the time it takes for the majority of Flash users to plug critical holes that come under attack.

Up to now, Flash Player has provided notices of available updates and waited until users clicked an OK button before installing them. What's more, Windows users who relied on multiple browsers weren't fully protected until they installed one patch for Internet Explorer and a separate one for most other browsers. (The Chrome browser has Flash integrated into it, so patches are delivered in updates provided by Google automatically.)

Adobe's background updater adopts an approach similar to that of Chrome. It allows Windows users to choose a setting that installs available updates automatically with no prompting. Updates will apply to Flash versions for all browsers other than Chrome, which will continue to bundle a dedicated player.

New, easier-to-update Flash designed to snuff out malware attacks

Automatic updating won't work for releases that require users to change default settings in Flash. That includes version 11.2 released Tuesday, because it changes the way updates are applied to users’ machines. The background updater is currently available only for Windows versions of Flash, but a Mac version is now under development.

"The new background updater will provide a better experience for our customers, and it will allow us to more rapidly respond to zero-day attacks," wrote Peleus Uhley, whose title is Platform Security Strategist on the Adobe Secure Software Engineering Team.

Statistics regularly compiled by Microsoft, Symantec, and others typically rank Flash, along with Oracle's Java framework, as among the most frequently exploited pieces of software. In addition to making Flash easier to update, Adobe is working to improve security by collaborating with browser makers on protective sandboxes that isolate Web content from parts of the operating system that read and modify sensitive files. A version of Chrome code-named Pepper, for instance, will run Flash in the browser's standard sandbox, which is regarded as one of the hardest to bypass. Adobe developers are also working on a Flash sandbox for Firefox. Microsoft, meanwhile, is continuing to improve security mechanisms for its next version of IE.

As things stand now, there is no Flash sandbox for those using Firefox, although the open-source browser does run it and other plugins in a separate process to prevent them from crashing the browser. Both Chrome and IE have various means of containing the Adobe player, but those measures often can be bypassed.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Adobe, Flash

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (16)