Category Archives: Flash

Microsoft releases update for Flash

Normally, Microsoft releases updates for Flash in Edge and Internet Explorer along with everything else on the second Tuesday of each month.

This month, something went wrong with the Windows Update system, and Microsoft pushed all the February updates to March, including an expected fix for a serious SMS flaw.

Someone at Microsoft apparently realized that this decision would leave some Flash users (those using Flash in Edge and Internet Explorer) vulnerable for an extra month. Flash vulnerabilities are targeted aggressively by malicious hackers, so this is obviously a bad thing. As a result, Microsoft has released a Flash update, one week later than originally planned.

Anyone who uses Flash in Internet Explorer or Edge should visit Windows Update and install the Flash update as soon as possible.

So we do get a Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for February 2017 after all, but it only includes a single bulletin.

Flash update fixes 13 vulnerabilities

A new version of Flash, released yesterday, addresses at least thirteen vulnerabilities in previous versions.

According to the security bulletin for Flash, the new version fixes “critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.”

The release notes for Flash describe some new features that are likely only of interest to developers.

As usual, Internet Explorer and Edge will get new versions of their embedded Flash via Windows Update, while Chrome’s embedded Flash will be updated automatically.

Anyone who still uses a web browser with Flash enabled should update it as soon as possible.

Patch Tuesday for January 2017

Another Patch Tuesday rolls around, bringing updates for Internet Explorer, Edge, Windows, and Office from Microsoft, and new versions of Flash and Reader from Adobe.

According to the Microsoft’s January 2017 bulletin summary,

“There are no security fixes or quality improvements for Windows 8.1 … on Update Tuesday for January 2017. As such, there is no Security Only Quality Update or Security Monthly Quality Rollup release for [Windows 8.1] this month.”

And in fact there are only four bulletins (with associated updates), addressing vulnerabilities in Windows, Edge, Office, and the Flash player built into Edge and Internet Explorer 11. Not including Flash, these updates address three security vulnerabilities.

Adobe’s contributions this month start with Flash, which addresses thirteen vulnerabilities in previous versions, adds some new features that are not particularly interesting, and improves support for high resolution displays in Firefox on Windows: Flash content will now scale properly in that context. As usual, Flash updates for Edge and Internet Explorer are handled by Microsoft, and Google Chrome will update itself automatically.

New versions of Adobe Reader address twenty-nine vulnerabilities. Reader XI is up to version 11.0.19, while its confusingly-named sister products Acrobat Reader DC (Continuous) and Acrobat Reader DC (Classic) are at versions 15.023.20053 and 15.006.30279, respectively.

So it’s an enjoyably light month. Visit Windows Update, update Adobe Reader, and if you use a web browser with Flash enabled, make sure to update that as well.

Patch Tuesday for December 2016

For 2016’s final set of updates, Microsoft has issued twelve bulletins, with associated patches, affecting the usual software, namely Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, Office, and the .NET Framework. Forty-seven vulnerabilities in all are addressed by these updates.

Adobe issued updates for several of its products today, but the only one likely to be of interest to most people is, of course, Flash. And I mean ‘interest’ in the sense of “I am very interested in not having my computer infected with malware because I visited a malicious web site while running an out-of-date version of Flash.” The new version of Flash on all platforms is It addresses seventeen vulnerabilities in the still-ubiquitous player. As usual, Flash in Internet Explorer and Chrome will be updated automatically.

Patch Tuesday for November 2016

It’s Patch Tuesday, albeit a slightly more interesting one than usual. Patches we have, from both Microsoft and Adobe. More about that later.

Microsoft wants to simplify the way security update information is presented to the public. To that end, they’ve created a new ‘starting page’ of sorts, called the Security Updates Guide. The idea is that anyone should be able to find the information they need by starting here. Most of the links on the new page actually go to existing TechNet pages. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Among the updates from Microsoft this month is a fix for the Windows vulnerability recently reported by Google. You may recall that Microsoft was rather annoyed with Google for making the vulnerability public according to their own rules (sooner than Microsoft wanted). Microsoft did credit Neel Mehta and Billy Leonard of Google’s Threat Analysis Group for their assistance.

There are fourteen bulletins from Microsoft this month. The associated updates address seventy-five vulnerabilities in Windows, Edge, Office, and Internet Explorer.

Adobe’s monthly contribution to the festivities is a new version of Flash, A release announcement provides an overview of the changes, while the associated security bulletin provides some background about the nine vulnerabilities addressed.

Windows zero-day vulnerability won’t be fixed until November 8

Google’s Threat Analysis Group recently discovered critical flaws in Flash and Windows that could allow an attacker to bypass Windows security mechanisms. Attacks based on these flaws have already been observed in the wild.

The flaw in Flash was fixed immediately by Oracle; hence the out-of-cycle Flash update on October 26. But Microsoft decided to delay the corresponding Windows fix until next Patch Tuesday (November 8), and is now rather annoyed with Google for reporting the vulnerability publicly. Google was following its own rules for vulnerability disclosure, but such rules differ widely between organizations. In any case, Microsoft would have been happier if Google had waited a bit longer before spilling the beans.


Normally Adobe releases Flash updates on Patch Tuesday, but when there’s a critical security vulnerability they will release an ‘out of cycle’ fix. That’s what happened with Flash, which was released on October 26 to address a single vulnerability: CVE-2016-7855 (details pending).

Anyone who uses Flash in a web browser should update Flash as soon as possible. If you’re not sure whether you’re running the latest Flash, go to the About Flash page on the Adobe web site.

As always, Internet Explorer and Edge will get updates to their embedded Flash via Windows Update (bulletin MS16-128), and Chrome will update itself automatically. Still, it’s a good idea to make sure by visiting the About Flash page.

Adobe software updates: October 2016

Adobe announced new versions of Flash and Reader/Acrobat yesterday.

Flash fixes twelve vulnerabilities in previous versions. The new version also adds some new features, but these are likely only of interest to developers. If you still have Flash enabled in any web browser, you should either update it immediately, or disable Flash in the browser. As usual, Chrome will update itself with the latest version, and Internet Explorer and Edge on Windows will get the new Flash version via Windows Update.

New versions of Reader/Acrobat (XI, DC Classic and DC Continuous) address a whopping seventy-one vulnerabilities in previous versions. If you use a web browser with an Adobe Reader add-on, you should either update it as soon as possible or disable that add-on.

Patch Tuesday: October 2016

It’s the first day of a new era in Windows updates. Windows 7 and 8 now get updates in cumulative rollups, and updates are bundled together.

This month there are ten security bulletins. Each bulletin is associated with one fix for a specific vulnerability in an application, library, or API; or with a bundle of fixes that address several vulnerabilities in Windows.

Each bulletin is associated with at least one Knowledge Base article, and sometimes with additional KB articles that apply to different versions of Windows, Office, .NET, or some other application. Each additional KB article is associated with a version-specific update. There are often two sets of KB articles: one for the security only quality update and one for the security monthly quality update.

All of the security updates this month are available via Microsoft Update. Most are also available from the Microsoft Download Center and the Microsoft Update Catalog (MUC). Downloading updates from the MUC technically requires Internet Explorer, but you can use any other browser by navigating to (replacing KBxxxxxxx with the KB article number).

So far I don’t see anything in these new updates that looks particularly worrisome. Of course there’s always a risk that Microsoft will slip something in that we don’t want, but there’s a non-trivial amount of scrutiny being directed toward Microsoft right now, and I’m confident someone will quickly spot anything untoward.

I was half-expecting the updates to be as poorly documented as Windows 10 updates, but instead the Windows 10 updates are now as well documented as the others. I also thought there would be fewer bundles, and I didn’t expect them to be grouped as sensibly as they are.

The new system is simpler in some ways, and it does at least unify all versions of Windows to some extent, although Windows 10 updates are still treated somewhat differently. It all actually seems less clunky than before, which is a very nice surprise.

Questions remain. It’s unclear how bad updates will be handled. In the past, if an update broke Windows, you could uninstall it. Now, presumably, you’d have to uninstall an entire bundle. Or something. We’ll see how it goes next month when rollups start arriving with multiple months worth of updates.

Update 2016Oct12: Brian Krebs’ take on the new Windows Update system.