APPLE HAS SENT a guidance document to its security mailing list to announce that all users of OS X must upgrade to the latest version of Safari's Flash Plugin to block some vulnerabilities that have been discovered.
The company is legendary in its dislike of the Adobe Flash protocol, with former head honch Steve Jobs vocalising his refusal to support the format on his new-fangled iPhone in 2007.
Anyone using an outdated version of Flash (pre-184.108.40.2065) will find that it is blocked, and will be invited to download the update. Alternatively, for crumbly old Macs that won't run Flash 16, a new version of Flash Player 13 (220.127.116.119) will address the same problems.
Apple's advisory reads: "If you're using an out-of-date version of the Adobe Flash Player plug-in, you may see the message 'Blocked plug-in', 'Flash Security Alert' or 'Flash out-of-date' when attempting to view Flash content in Safari.
"To continue viewing Flash content, update to a later version of Adobe Flash Player. Click the Download Flash button. Safari opens the Adobe Flash Player page on the Adobe website."
Alternatively, by using the Internet Plugin Management feature, you are able to whitelist earlier versions of Flash on trusted websites. Though it might just be easier to upgrade.
The vulnerabilities are cross-platform, but it is Apple that has made the unilateral move to block earlier versions of Flash.
The issue in question is a zero-day vulnerability that is already being exploited in the wild on Windows machines to trigger drive-by download attacks, with Malware-ridden pop-up ads a particularly virulent source.
Google recently migrated YouTube videos from Adobe Flash Player to HTML5 while the BBC's iPlayer stopped using it in 2013 in favour of a proprietary solution.
The lightweight and relatively secure HTML5 has rendered the once mighty Flash as little more than a historical footnote and a security nightmare. µ
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