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Microsoft issues IE 10 Flash flaw fix for Windows 8

Will work with Adobe to plug future holes

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Hot on the heels of an update that fixed the recent zero-day flaw discovered in Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, and 9, Microsoft has released a separate patch that solves issues related to the Adobe Flash Player component of Internet Explorer 10.

The current Flash vulnerabilities only affect IE 10 running on Windows 8 and Windows 2012 server, meaning most Windows users are in the clear. But although Redmond's latest operating systems have yet to ship to retail customers, they are already available to volume licensees and subscribers to Microsoft's MSDN and TechNet programs.

Previous versions of IE displayed Flash content using Adobe's Flash Player plugin. But in IE 10, Microsoft has made Flash an integral part of the browser, with the goal of providing a "plugin-free" browsing experience. As a result, Flash security fixes for IE 10 must come from Microsoft, not Adobe.

Initially, Microsoft said it wouldn't offer a patch for the flaws until after Windows 8's official launch date, but it recanted after it drew criticism from users who worried that the delay meant IE 10 patches would lag behind Adobe's own bug fix cycle.

Yunsun Wee of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing group tried to allay those fears on Friday with a blog post announcing both the fix and Redmond's security strategy with regard to IE 10 and Flash.

According to the post, Microsoft will "coordinate" with Adobe to release IE 10 patches in conjunction with Adobe's regular, quarterly update cycle. In addition, Redmond says it may issue emergency updates outside of its own monthly security bulletin cycle, should the "threat landscape" require it.

The current fix is being made available via Windows Update, so most Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 users should receive it without taking any action, unless they've disabled automatic updates. Users who want to install the update manually, on the other hand – for whatever reason – can download it from Microsoft's Knowledge Base. ®

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