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Adobe patches critical bugs in Flash and Reader

Second emergency Flash patch in 9 days

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Adobe has rolled out updates for its widely used Reader PDF viewer and Flash animation programs that fix flaws, some that hackers have been exploiting to hijack end user computers.

The emergency patch for Flash was the second time in nine days that Adobe has rushed out a fix for a serious bug in the program. The vulnerability allows attackers to remotely execute malicious code on machines that run the software, and there are reports it's being actively exploited, Adobe said.

The targeted vulnerability resides in Flash versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Solaris and the Android mobile operating system. Tuesday's fix is available for all platforms except for Android.

A separate update for Reader fixes at least 13 bugs. Adobe rated 11 of them "critical," a designation typically reserved for vulnerabilities that can be exploited with little or no interaction required by the user to install malware. The flaws involved memory corruption, buffer and heap overflows, DLL load hijacking and other bugs.

Flash and Reader are among the most commonly targeted apps by criminals pushing malware. Users are better off using an alternative PDF reader such as Foxit. While the application has its share of security vulnerabilities, its smaller market share means it's mostly ignored by attackers.

The patches added to the strain many IT admins were already shouldering from Tuesday's monster patch batch from Microsoft. Adobe has more about the Flash and Reader patches here and here. ®

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