Microsoft pushes out critical Flash Player patches with one week delay

A critical Windows update released Tuesday fixes vulnerabilities in Flash Player

After deciding to postpone its February patches for a month, Microsoft released one critical security update for Windows on Tuesday that contains Flash Player patches released by Adobe Systems last week.

The new security bulletin, identified as MS17-005, is rated critical for Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, and moderate for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

On these Windows versions, Flash Player is bundled by default with Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge, so Microsoft delivers patches for it through Windows Update.

This month's Flash Player patches were released by Adobe on February 14 and address 13 vulnerabilities that could lead to remote code execution. Typically Adobe releases patches on the same day as Microsoft, a day known in the industry as Patch Tuesday.

This month, though, Microsoft postponed its updates at the last minute due to an unspecified issue that, it said, could have affected customers.

Microsoft later announced that its February patches will instead be released on March 14, next month's Patch Tuesday. So it's somewhat surprising that it has decided to release the Flash Player patches now.

From a security point of view it's good that the company hasn't delayed delivering the Flash Player patches for a whole month, because these patches are already public via Adobe and attackers could reverse-engineer them to craft exploits until then.

On the other hand, there's the question of why didn't Microsoft release them last week.

This gives weight to previous speculation that the issue that forced the company postpone its patches was related to the Windows Update infrastructure and not to a particular buggy update.

On Windows, Flash Player vulnerabilities can be exploited in several ways: via the browser through specially crafted Flash files hosted on websites or in malicious advertisements, and via Microsoft Office files that malicious ActiveX controls embedded into them.

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

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

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

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?