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Adobe patches critical Flash Player flaws after Google fixes zero-day bug in Chrome

The Adobe security update patches critical flaws in Flash Player 10.3.183.7 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris, and Adobe Flash Player 10.3.186.6 and earlier versions for Android. These vulnerabilities could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

“There are reports that one of these vulnerabilities (CVE-2011-2444) is being exploited in the wild in active targeted attacks designed to trick the user into clicking on a malicious link delivered in an email message. This universal cross-site scripting issue could be used to take actions on a user's behalf on any website or webmail provider if the user visits a malicious website”, Adobe said.

Yesterday, Google released an update to Chrome that “includes an update to Flash Player that addresses a zero-day vulnerability.” Adobe explained why Google was able to deliver a fix to the Flash Player flaw a day before Adobe:

As part of our collaboration with Google, Google receives updated builds of Flash Player for integration and testing. Once testing is completed for Google Chrome, the release is pushed via the Chrome auto-update mechanism. Adobe is testing the fix across all supported configurations of Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Solaris and Android (more than 60 platforms/configurations altogether) to ensure the fix works across all supported configurations. Typically, this process takes slightly longer and, in this case, will be completed for Flash Player for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Solaris and Android” on Wednesday.

Not everybody thinks this is a good idea. PC Magazine’s Larry Seltzer notes that Google’s early release increases the severity of Adobe’s zero-day flaw. Hackers “could look at the Chrome update and potentially examine it in order to determine what it is patching. From that they could construct an exploit”, he explained.