Apple ships vulnerable Flash version with new Mac OS

Snow Leopard leaps out of the box but forgets to bring an update to Adobe's multimedia program

Mac users may be surprised that versions of Apple's latest operating system, Snow Leopard, also installs an older version of Adobe System's Flash player, potentially putting them at a higher security risk.

The "initial" release of OS X 10.6 includes an earlier Flash player version than the latest version, which is 10.0.32.18, according to an Adobe blog post on Wednesday.

Upgrading to Snow Leopard, which was released on Friday, will actually downgrade the latest Flash player to version 10.0.23.1, which is not patched against some security problems, wrote Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

That's problematic, as vulnerabilities in Adobe applications are frequently used by hackers in order to gain control over a PC. As operating systems have become harder to exploit, hackers have turned their attention to probing third-party applications.

Adobe's programs are an attractive target. Millions upon millions of computers worldwide have Flash Player, as well as other products as Acrobat and Reader, used for PDF (Portable Document Format) files.

Hackers have found ways to create malicious PDF documents that exploit a vulnerability when opened. The problems became so severe and so frequent that Adobe introduced a quarterly patching schedule for Acrobat and Reader, timed to coincide with Microsoft's patch releases on the second Tuesday of the month.

Flash Player isn't on that schedule, however. In July alone, Adobe issued 12 patches for the Flash Player. At least 10 of the vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on a machine.

Adobe's Flash Player is a bit different than other applications in that its "Settings Manager," which is used to control security, privacy and other parameters, must be accessed through Adobe's Web site.

Through the Settings Manager, users can set how frequently Flash checks for an update, such as at seven, 14, 30 or 60-day intervals. The default interval is every 30 days. Adobe also has an online tool that confirms the version of Flash a computer is running.

Apple representatives contacted in London did not have an immediate comment.

The Flash player snafu comes as Apple has sought to build more protection into its OS, adding basic detection into Snow Leopard of two Trojan Horse programs called "RSPlug.a" and "Iservice".

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleadobeMac OS Xexploits and vulnerabilitiessnow leopardpdf

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?