Apple patches Safari, blocks outdated Flash Player

Yanks Flash plug-ins older than November 2010 version from browser

By , Computerworld |  Security, Apple, Flash player

Apple on Wednesday patched four security vulnerabilities in Safari and blocked outdated versions of Adobe's Flash Player from running in its browser.

The Flash blocking move was similar to one Apple made last month when it stopped the Java plug-in from launching automatically.

Safari 5.1.7, which runs on OS X 10.6 and 10.7 -- Snow Leopard and Lion, respectively -- as well as on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, was released alongside another update for Lion that included a slightly-older version of the browser. Lion users must download and install both updates to push Safari to version 5.1.7.

The four security flaws fixed were the same ones patched Tuesday in iOS 5.1.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. All were labeled as bugs in WebKit, the open-source rendering engine that powers Safari as well as Google's Chrome.

In fact, one of the vulnerabilities was first revealed by a researcher at the "Pwnium" hacking contest Google hosted last March. The researcher, Sergey Glazunov, was awarded $60,000 for pairing the flaw with another bug to bring down Chrome.

Glazunov was credited by Apple with reporting a second WebKit vulnerability, while another was attributed to a pair of engineers on the Chrome security team.

Along with the four patches, Apple also yanked Adobe's Flash Player from Safari if the plug-in was older than version 10.1.102.64, which released in November 2010. Since then, Adobe has shipped Flash Player 11 for the Mac. It has also continued to maintain the older version 10, which now stands at version 10.3.183.19.

"This update disables Adobe Flash Player if it is older than 10.1.102.64 by moving its files to a new directory," Apple's advisory stated Wednesday. "This update presents the option to install an updated version of Flash Player from the Adobe website."

Apple stopped bundling Flash Player with OS X in the fall of 2010, but users have been free to download and install the plug-in on their own. Microsoft last distributed Flash with the nearly-11-year-old Windows XP. Neither Windows Vista or Windows 7 included a preinstalled version of Adobe's software.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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