Mobile Devices

March 05, 2013

Safari Says No to Old Flash Player Following String of Attacks

Safari users might be having a little bit of trouble getting the older versions of Flash Player to work on their devices, and the reason behind that is actually both simple and fairly welcome. Apple has recently moved to have Safari block old versions of the Flash Player from working to better ensure that users make the necessary upgrades to the newer, safer version of Flash Player.

So what's behind the sudden move to blacklist the old Flash Player? Adobe, not too long ago, released a patch that was geared toward preventing more malicious users from exploiting a set of vulnerabilities discovered in the older versions of Flash Player. The patch brought the system back up to speed and made it quite a bit safer, but not everyone performs those upgrades when prompted. It may be that previous updates have left systems unstable, or it's simply a matter of time or convenience, but still, the key takeaway is updates don't always go on systems when they should. Apple, therefore, took a slice of initiative and moved to block the older versions in Flash, instead putting up a pop-up window telling the users that they should "Download Flash."

Some may recognize these tactics from a similar approach Apple took with Java plug-in blocking, as the Flash Player block has been applied to Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion versions of OS X, all using updates to the XProtect "plist." Interestingly, Chrome and IE 10 on Windows 8 automatically update Flash to the newest version available--making it unlikely that those versions would be hit with the vulnerability--and Mozilla's Firefox favors a "click to play" feature which keeps plugins from launching automatically except for Flash, and only when it's in the latest version.

Considering how many people still use Flash, or Flash Player, on a daily basis, it's easy to see why any vulnerabilities in the system would be targeted, and zealously, by those looking for a back door into a system. It's in such a massive number of systems that it's almost like having one lock that's comparatively easy to break on half the houses in an entire neighborhood, and to a burglar, that's an open invitation.

Thankfully, this particular problem seems to have a fairly easy solution, so simply taking Apple's advice and updating Flash Player in a rapid fashion should ultimately prove to take care of the problem. In general, of course, it's a smart idea to make those software upgrades as they become available, because it never can be told just who's targeting a system for breach.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

comments powered by Disqus

FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter