Critical updates for Adobe Flash, Microsoft Windows
Microsoft released six software updates on Tuesday to fix at least a dozen security vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Server and Microsoft Office. More than half of the flaws earned a "critical" rating, meaning criminals could exploit them to break into vulnerable systems without any help from users. Separately, Adobe Systems Inc. issued critical security updates to its Flash Player and AIR Web-browser plugins.
Probably the most important update for most users is the one for Internet Explorer, which corrects five critical flaws in IE 6, 7 and 8. These are vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit to quietly install malicious software on your machine if you browse with IE to a hacked or booby-trapped site.
A description of the rest of the vulnerabilities patched in this month's release from Microsoft is available here.
Adobe also issued security updates to its ubiquitous Flash Player and its Adobe AIR software. Updates are available for Windows, Linux and Mac versions of these programs.
The Flash update corrects several critical vulnerabilities in Flash versions 10.0.32.18 and earlier. Users should upgrade to the latest version - 10.0.42.34 - available here. Not sure whether you have Flash installed or which version you need? Visit this link.
A couple of notes about the Flash update are in order. First, Windows users will need to apply this update twice if they use another browser in addition to Internet Explorer. Those users will need to visit the Flash Player Download Page and install the update once with IE, and a second time while visiting that link with Firefox or Opera (the non-IE installer is designed to update Mozilla-based browsers).
Also, Adobe's installer typically pre-checks some third party software -- such as Google Toolbar or a trial of some anti-virus product -- so if you don't want these "extras," make sure to uncheck that option before agreeing to install the update.
Adobe also shipped an update to its AIR browser plug-in, which updates AIR version 1.5.2 to the newest version, cleverly named 1.5.3. Users can download the latest AIR version from this link.
As always, please drop a note in the comment section below if you experience any problems or weirdness with your system after installing any of these updates.
December 8, 2009; 10:40 PM ET
Categories: New Patches , Safety Tips | Tags: adobe flash, microsoft patch
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