Category Archives: Flash

Patch Tuesday for December 2015

Another month, another pile o’ patches from Microsoft and Adobe. This month Microsoft is pushing out twelve updates, affecting 71 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Edge, Office, .NET and Silverlight. Eight of the updates are flagged as Critical.

Microsoft has also published a few security advisories since the last monthly update.

Adobe’s chimed in this month with a new Flash (aside: how weird would it be if they didn’t?) The new version addresses at least 78 security vulnerabilities in the veritable piece of swiss cheese we know as the Flash player. The new version is designated on most platforms, but the version designed for use in Firefox and Safari on Windows and Mac is

Patch Tuesday for November 2015

It’s that time again. This month’s crop of updates from Microsoft addresses security problems in the usual suspects, namely Windows, Office, .NET and Internet Explorer. Adobe joins the fun with yet another batch of fixes for Flash, and Google releases another version of Chrome with the latest Flash.

The Microsoft security summary bulletin for November 2015 gets into all the technical details. There are twelve separate bulletins with associated updates. Four of the updates are flagged as Critical. One of the updates affects the Windows 10 web browser Edge. A total of 53 vulnerabilities are addressed.

Flash includes fixes for at least seventeen vulnerabilities. As usual, Internet Explorer in recent versions of Windows will be updated via Windows Update. Chrome gets the new Flash via its internal updater. Anyone still using a web browser with Flash enabled should install the new Flash as soon as possible.

Chrome 46.0.2490.86 includes the latest Flash (see above) and fixes a security issue in its embedded PDF viewer.

October Security Roundup

You probably shouldn’t rely on the security of your encrypted email. Even if you’re using current encryption technologies, certain conditions may arise during transit that cause your message to be transmitted in plain text.

There’s a well-reasoned response to a common question about the responsibility of Certificate Authorities over on the Let’s Encrypt blog. These fine folks will soon be providing free HTTPS certificates to the world, so they’ve been answering a lot of questions about how their service will work.

There’s going to be a minor apocalypse, starting January 1, 2016. On that date, Certificate Authorities will stop issuing certificates that use SHA1 encryption. SHA1 is now considered too weak for use, and is being phased out in favour of SHA2, which is much stronger. Just one problem: people stuck using older browser software and devices will lose their ability to access secure web sites and use those devices. There’s more technical nitty-gritty over at Ars Technica.

Symantec hasn’t done enough to clean up its Certificate Authority activities, according to Google. This follows the discovery that Symantec employees were issuing unauthorized certificates. Google has warned Symantec to provide a proper accounting of its CA activities or face the consequences.

A critical vulnerability in the blogging platform Joomla was discovered in October. The bug exists in all versions of Joomla from 3.2 onward. A patch was developed and made available, and anyone who manages a Joomla 3.x -based site is strongly advised to install the patched version (3.4.5) as soon as possible.

It’s increasingly dangerous to be a computer security researcher. New agreements could even make the work illegal in some regions.

Flaws in many self-encrypting external hard drives from Western Digital mean their encryption can be bypassed, according to researchers.

Google made it easier to determine why a site is flagged as unsafe, adding a Safe Browsing Site Status feature to their Transparency Report tools.

Mozilla is following the lead of Google and Microsoft, and plans to all but eliminate support for binary plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016. Binary browser plugins for Java, Flash, and Silverlight provide convenience but are a never-ending security headache. There’s one exception: Mozilla will continue to support Flash as a Firefox plugin for the foreseeable future.

The FBI teamed up with security vendors to take down another botnet in October. The Dridex botnet mainly targeted banking and corporate institutions, gathering private data and uploading it to control servers.

Cisco researchers, working with Limestone Networks, disrupted a lucrative ransomware operation in October.

A stash of thirteen million user names and plain text passwords was recently obtained by a security researcher. The records were traced to 000Webhost, an Internet services provider.

The Patreon funding web site was breached, and private information about subscribers, including encrypted passwords and donation records, was published online. Source code was also stolen, which may make decrypting the passwords much easier.

Researchers discovered numerous iPhone applications that collect and transmit private user information, in violation of Apple’s privacy policies. These apps apparently made it into the App Store because of a loophole in the validation process.

87% of Android-based devices are vulnerable to security exploits. Google develops Android updates quickly enough, but phone makers are typically very slow to make updates available to users.

New Android vulnerabilities, dubbed ‘Stagefright 2.0’ by researchers, were announced in early October. As many as a billion Android devices are vulnerable, and although patches were made available by Google, they may take weeks or months to find their way to individual devices.

A malicious Android adware campaign tricks unwary users into installing apps that appear to be from trusted vendors. These apps use slightly-modified icons of legitimate apps to fool users.

Shockwave update adds latest Flash

Adobe finally noticed all the warnings about Shockwave using an old, less-secure version of Flash. The latest new version of Shockwave ( fixes one specific security issue, while also adding support for the latest Flash using a new feature called ‘Flash Asset Xtra’.

The release notes for Shockwave and the corresponding security bulletin have additional details.

If you use a web browser with a Shockwave plugin, you should install Shockwave as soon as possible. You should also configure the plugin to prompt you before displaying any content, as long as your browser supports doing so.

Flash update for Chrome

Chrome has been updated to include the latest Flash, itself recently updated (outside the normal monthly update cycle) to fix a critical vulnerability. Luckily, if you use Chrome with Flash enabled, you don’t have to do anything; it will update itself.

Version 46.0.2490.80’s release notes don’t add much to the conversation, but predictably, the full change log is loaded with useless details. Nothing much of interest there, anyway.

Adobe releases fix for new zero-day exploit

Yesterday, Adobe released an update for the recently-discovered Flash security vulnerability CVE-2015-7645. Kudos to Adobe for acting quickly to fix this bug, which is being actively exploited on the web.

The new version of Flash ( addresses the CVE-2015-7645 vulnerability and two others. Additional details are available in the associated security bulletin. Other changes in this version of Flash are described in a post on the Flash runtime announcement site.

As usual, Internet Explorer on newer versions of Windows will get the new version of Flash via Windows Update, and Chrome will update itself via its own auto-updater.

If you’re still using Flash in a web browser, you need to install this update as soon as possible.

Nasty new zero-day exploit affects even most recent Flash

Security researchers at Trend Micro have identified a new Flash exploit being used in targeted attacks against various government agencies. The exploit takes advantage of a previously unknown vulnerability in all versions of Flash, including the most recent, It seems likely that the exploit will be used more widely in the near future.

Adobe quickly confirmed the vulnerability and announced in a security bulletin that a patch will be made available some time next week.

At this point one wonders whether there’s any code left in Flash that hasn’t been afflicted with security vulnerabilities at some point.

As always, if you can possibly live without Flash enabled in your browser, just disable it. If you need to use it, your best option is to configure your browser to always ask before displaying Flash content.

Patch Tuesday for October 2015

It’s a relatively light month for Microsoft, with only six bulletins, and associated updates affecting Windows, Windows Server, Internet Explorer, Office, and the new Windows 10 browser Edge. Three of the bulletins are flagged as Critical. The bulletin summary has all the details, and it includes a link to Microsoft’s Security Advisories page for 2015, which may be of some interest.

Meanwhile, Adobe’s contribution to this month’s patch pile is more updates for Flash and Reader/Acrobat. The new version of Flash is, and it addresses thirteen vulnerabilities. The release notes get into the details of what was changed, which includes a few bug fixes unrelated to security. As always, Chrome will update itself and Internet Explorer on newer versions of Windows will get the new Flash via Windows Update.

The newest versions of Adobe Reader are 11.0.13 for Reader XI, and 2015.009.20069 for Acrobat Reader DC. At least fifty-six vulnerabilities are addressed in these updates. Check out the related security bulletin for additional information.

Security & privacy roundup for September 2015

Android made security news in September for a lockscreen bypass hack and a ransomware app designated Android/Lockerpin.A.

Passwords in the leaked Ashley Madison user database became much easier to decrypt, once again reminding us to avoid re-using passwords.

A rogue version of the iPhone development tool XCode was found to have added malicious code to almost 500 legitimate apps. Those apps were published on the Apple App Store, and were subsequently installed by millions of iPhone and iPad users.

In other Apple-related news, a simple bypass for the Gatekeeper process, that protects Mac OS X users from malicious software, was discovered.

This month’s Flash updates prompted Brian Krebs to take another look at Adobe Shockwave. He found that even the most recent versions of Shockwave still contain very out of date versions of Flash, and strongly recommends that you remove Shockwave from all your computers.

A series of exploits against the Imgur and 8chan sites caused little damage, despite their enormous potential. The true goals of the hack are still in question, and the associated vulnerabilities on the affected sites have been fixed.

A researcher discovered several serious vulnerabilities in popular security software from Kaspersky Labs. While there’s no evidence of exploits in the wild, this is rather alarming. Anti-malware software typically has access to core system functionality, making working exploits very valuable to attackers. Kaspersky Labs acted quickly to fix the bugs, but this isn’t the first time security software has been found vulnerable, and likely won’t be the last.

A new botnet called Xor.DDoS is using compromised Linux computers to perform DDoS attacks against a variety of web sites, probably at the request of paying customers. The Linux computers hosting the botnet appear to have been compromised via weak root passwords. So far, most of the targets are in Asia. This marks a shift in platform for botnet developers, which previously focused almost exclusively on Windows.