Friday, November 11, 2011

Adobe Promises to Keep Patches Coming for Flash Player

Adobe Flash PlayerEven though the Flash Player plug-in for mobile browsers is going away, Adobe has promised to support it, though the company has not said exactly how long it will continue to patch security bugs in the software. The Adobe Executive in charge of Interactive Development Danny Winokur said in a recent blog post that Adobe would release one more version of Flash Player for Android and RIM's PlayBook before calling it quits.

The last version, which was labeled 11.1, shipped today though Winokur pledged that Adobe would keep patching some bugs in Flash Player. According to his statement, "We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations." Winokur's mention of "critical bug fixes" may not mean much, however. That is because Adobe typically rates all its Flash security updates as "critical" across the board.

In addition to Winokur's statement, another Adobe manger repeated that promise. In a Twitter post by Brad Arkin, Senior Director of Product Security and Privacy for Adobe, Arkin stated, "Adobe will continue to ship security updates for Flash Player mobile after the final feature release."

Unfortunately, neither Winokur nor Arkin relayed exactly how long Flash Player 11 security updates will be offered for smartphones and tablets. In addition to that, Adobe's Public Relations Staff declined to comment on a support timeline. Director of Security Operations at nCircle Security Andrew Storms, however, found this bit of information very peculiar.

"Why would they not tell us?" Storms asked. "That's to the detriment of everybody. If they make a date, that would get users off it sooner and force developers to get off Flash too." In addition to that, Storms speculated that Adobe may not have yet decided or that other commitments may have tied their hands.

Even though there is no word on when Adobe will drop Flash, users should look to the company's handling of Shockwave Player for inspiration. Even though Shockwave Player 11 was introduced back in March 2008, Adobe is still pushing patches to servers with the most recent one hitting last Tuesday. What is interesting, and slightly ironic, is that Adobe patched Flash Player on Thursday, releasing 11.1 for Android, as well as for Windows, OS X and Linux.

The update fixed 12 flaws, all of which were considered critical and most of them memory corruption vulnerabilities. The update yesterday was the ninth this year for Flash Player. This is nearly double the number that Adobe released in 2010. If you're running desktop browsers other than Chrome, you can download the patched version of Flash Player from Adobe's site. Android users can obtain the update from the Android Marketplace.

Source: Computer World - Adobe promises to keep patching Flash on mobile ... but doesn't say for how long

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