Adobe has upgraded its Flash Player to fix seven vulnerabilities in the graphics and video software widely used for interactive Web pages and banner advertisements.
Adobe classifies the patches as “critical” and advises people upgrade to the latest version, 188.8.131.52. All of the vulnerabilities could allow a hacker to execute code on a machine.
One of the vulnerabilities allowed Shane Macaulay to win a laptop in the PWN 2 OWN hacking contest at last month’s CanSecWest conference in Vancouver.
Macaulay, a researcher with the Security Objectives consultancy, used the Flash flaw to break into a machine running Windows Vista. He later said 90 percent of computers worldwide were vulnerable.
Exploiting vulnerabilities in Flash software has become an increasingly popular vector for hackers to compromise machines for two reasons. Most Web browsers have the Flash Player installed, and malicious banner advertisements — which can achieve wide distribution on Web sites pulling ads from a network — can take advantage of those vulnerabilities.
“These vulnerabilities could be accessed through content delivered from a remote location via the user’s web browser, e-mail client, or other applications that include or reference the Flash Player,” Adobe wrote in its advisory.
If a malicious banner advertisement is widely distributed, a hacker has the potential to take control of many PCs. Lately, these “malvertisements” have been popping up everywhere, wrote Sandi Hardmeier, a Microsoft Most Valued Professional and security blogger.
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