For the third time in a month, Adobe has issued an update to plug security holes in its Flash Player software. The update came on Patch Tuesday, when Microsoft released a dozen patches to fix dozens of vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Skype and other software.
I’ve spent the better part of the last month running a little experiment to see how much I would miss Adobe’s buggy and insecure Flash Player software if I removed it from my systems altogether. Turns out, not so much.
An analysis of how quickly different browser users patch Adobe Flash vulnerabilities shows a dramatic variation among browser makers. The data suggest that Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox users tend to get Flash updates relatively quickly, while many users on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser consistently lag behind.
Adobe Systems Inc. has shipped an emergency security update to fix a critical flaw in its Flash Player software that is currently being exploited in active attacks. The exploits so far appears to target Microsoft Windows users, but updates also are available for Mac and Linux versions of Flash.
Muzzling buggy and insecure Web browser plugins like Java and Flash goes a long way toward blocking attacks from drive-by downloads and hacked or malicious Web sites. But leaving them entirely unplugged from the browser is not always practical, particularly with Flash, which is used on a majority of sites. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple and effective alternative: Click-to-Play.