Critical Security Fixes for Adobe Flash Player

Adobe has released a critical update to its Flash Player software that fixes at least seven security vulnerabilities in the program. The new version also extends the background updater to Mac OS X users browsing the Web with Mozilla Firefox.

The update, Flash Player 11.3, plugs at least seven security holes in Flash Player and Adobe Air. The company warns that attackers could use these flaws to crash the applications and seize control over unpatched systems. Flash updates are available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android systems. Adobe AIR patches are available for Windows, Mac and Android platforms. See the chart below for the latest, patched versions numbers for each platform.

According to Adobe, the background updater being delivered for Mac OS X uses the same design as the Flash Player updater on Windows. If the user chooses to accept background updates, then the Mac Launch Daemon will launch the background updater every hour to check for updates until it receives a response from the Adobe server. If the server responds that no update is available, the system will begin checking again 24 hours later. If a background update is available, the background updater can download and install the update without interrupting the end-user’s session with a prompt.

To find out if you have Flash installed, or which version is on your system, visit this link. If you have trouble updating your Flash version, consider uninstalling the program using Adobe’s Flash removal tool, rebooting, and then reinstalling the latest version. Windows users who have Flash 11.2 or higher installed also have Adobe’s new updater, which is designed to auto-install updates shortly after they’re made available. Those who’d prefer not to wait can grab the new version from the Adobe Flash Player Download Center, but if you choose this route to update, be on the lookout for pre-checked boxes offering potentially unwanted extras (for example, McAfee’s security scan is often bundled here). Alternatively, direct links to the OS-specific downloads are here.

Readers who have Adobe Air installed will need to update that application separately. The latest version, v. 3.3.0.3610, is available from this link.

Update, June 10, 9:40 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Adobe had ported its sandbox protection for Flash to Mac OS X users. It was only the background updater function that was ported to Firefox users on Macs in this version of Flash. The above text has been corrected.

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