Many Updates: Flash Player, Mac OS X, Firefox

Today is a busy day for those who want to keep their computers secure: Many updates are available, from Adobes Flash Player over Apples Mac OS X operating system to the Firefox webbrowser.

There is a security vulnerability in Flash player which became public as a zero day vulnerability a week ago. It has been attacked in a limited fashion. Now Adobe released this security update which users can download from the website of the company. As this security vulnerability already gets actively exploited, users and administrators should apply the update immediately.

Apple also released new software: Mac OS 10.6.7, also known as Security Update 2011-001. It closes several security holes which allow attackers to remotely inject and execute malicious code – for example with specially drafted documents. But the update also solves some other issues. Mac users should start the update ASAP!

And then there are the Mozilla developers which just updated the last Release Candidate 2 of the Firefox 4 web browser before the weekend. It is meant to be released as the final version today, too. Next to more speed and a fresh, leaner and cleaner look (like a mix between Chrome and Safari), the software increases security quite a bit.

One of the most important changes in Firefox 4 is that like with Google Chrome, updates get delivered and installed automatically in the background. Unlike Google, new major version like 4.5 or 5.0 are not planned to be installed automatically, the Mozilla developers made clear though. Also, the automatic updater is currently only planned for the Windows version.

This is a great step forward to make computers more secure. Cyber criminals smuggle their malware like Trojans onto their victims PCs by abusing security vulnerabilities in outdated software most often. By installing the most recent version without security holes this gateway gets closed fast and automatically.

Thus Firefox users should download and install the new 4.0 version if possible. The update should be available through the update mechanism already – thus clicking on the “Help” menu and selecting “Check for updates” will make the update process start fast.

Dirk Knop
Technical Editor