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Adobe's quarterly patch cycle to commence Tuesday

'Critical' fix for some, but not all

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Adobe Software's new quarterly patch cycle will commence on Tuesday with an update that patches a severe vulnerability in some versions its Reader and Acrobat products.

The program is part of a push by Adobe to beef up security after complaints earlier this year that the software maker was too slow in plugging security holes in its software, which runs on the vast majority of machines running Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The quarterly release, which will coincide with Microsoft's Patch Tuesday, is designed to life easier on people administering large fleets of computers.

Up to now, Adobe has issued security updates on an ad hoc basis that frequently fixed a critical vulnerability in one version but not others.

Tuesday's inauguration will include a patch for versions 7.x, 8.x and 9.x of Adobe Reader and Acrobat for Windows and Mac. Fixes for Unix versions of the programs will come later. This would appear to be at odds with an announcement made last month, in which Adobe promised to release patches for all major supported versions and platforms of Reader and Acrobat on the same day. Adobe's blog post announcing next Tuesday's patches didn't explain the discrepancy.

"Adobe considers this a critical update and recommends users be prepared to apply the update for their product installations," the advisory, posted to Adobe's product incident response team blog, stated.

The release means PC owners will have an even bigger patch burden to shoulder this Tuesday. Microsoft on Thursday announced a bumper crop of patches, six of which are rated critical, the company's highest severity level.

In addition to a regular patch releases, Adobe's new security initiative involves a new push to eradicate security bugs in existing products by combing through its existing code base for exploitable flaws. Previously, the company's Secure Development Lifecycle emphasized ways to build security into products that were under development. ®

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