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Adobe goes out of band to fix frightful Flash flaw

Company warns of active attacks on browsers

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Adobe has issued an out-of-band fix to address what the company warns is an actively-targeted vulnerability in its Flash media plug-in.

The company said that the Flash 12.0.0.44 update would address a remote code execution vulnerability present in the Windows, OS X, and Linux versions of Flash Player. Users running Chrome and Internet Explorer will automatically download the update through their browsers, while other users can obtain the fix through Adobe's Download Center.

Adobe said that if targeted, the integer underflow vulnerability could cause a crash that would allow an attacker to remotely execute code and possibly take control of a targeted system.

According to the company, there have been reports of the flaw being actively targeted in the wild, prompting a high deployment priority on the Windows and OS X versions of the patch. Adobe considers the Linux update to be a lower priority at the moment.

That the company would release the update outside of its normal monthly security update schedule would indeed suggest that the flaw is a serious issue. Such out-of-band releases are fairly uncommon among companies with monthly updates, and are usually only issued when a serious vulnerability is being actively targeted.

According to security researcher and blogger Graham Cluley, the high-profile of Flash and the history of attackers targeting Adobe tools should motivate users and administrators to patch their systems quickly.

"Clearly Adobe thinks the issue is serious if it is taking the step to issue an out-of-band security patch," Cluley said in a blog post.

"In the past Adobe security flaws have been exploited widely by online criminals to infect unprotected computers, so internet users would be wise to take the threat seriously and patch their systems as appropriate." ®

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