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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?