Tag Archive for recommended updates

Recommended Updates: Adobe Flash Player

Adobe Flash logoThis is part 2 of a two-part article.

This past Tuesday I was discussing how hackers are exploiting flaws in other programs you may have installed on your computer or laptop. First, I discussed run-time Java code from Sun Microsystems, and today I’ll follow up with Adobe Flash Player.You should make sure that these two programs on your computer are up-to-date.

Whether you have a PC or a Mac, there’s a 99.9% likelihood that you have this software on your computer; and regardless of your OS, flaws in these two programs can be exploited by hackers and affect your computer. Much ballyhoo is made about Mac’s safety from viruses, but the exploits I’m discussing aren’t viral.

What is Adobe Flash Player? Which version do you have?

Sample version check image

Sample version check image

Adobe Flash is used on many web sites these days. Just about any animation or movement you see when you are visiting a web page is handled by the Flash software installed on your computer. Flash is also used for some video web sites such as Youtube. And there are also a lot of web sites that have games that are designed using the Adobe Flash program.

Whenever you access one of these Flash-enabled sites, the Flash software on your computer goes to work behind the scenes, but if your Flash software is outdated you might be vulnerable to hacker attacks. As of Sept. 2009 the most current version of the Adobe Flash Player is You can check your installed version of Adobe Flash Player here.

Updating Adobe Flash Player

Updating Adobe Flash Player is very easy to do. Just go to Adobe’s Flash Player Installation page here (http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/). Then click “Agree and install now” on that page. They often include some optional software with the download such as Google’s toolbar or some antivirus software. It isn’t necessary to download those programs when your get Adobe Flash Player, so you can clear those check boxes by clicking them before clicking “Agree and install now”.

Adobe's Download Manager (DLM)

Adobe's Download Manager (DLM)

You might receive some additional instructions from Adobe for proper installation on your specific computer, operating system, and web browser. In some cases you may need to restart your computer, or close and reopen your web browser. Oftentimes the software installer will do this automatically for you.

Recommended Updates: Flash and Java

Sun's Java icon & logo

Sun's Java icon & logo

Note: Due to a scheduling glitch this article was posted on 9/22/09 12 AM EST instead of 9/21 @ 9AM as it should have been.  This is the first of a two part article.

A lot of attention is paid to keeping your computer’s operating system (Windows or Mac OS) up to date, and keeping your antivirus up to date, but there are other programs to keep an eye on as well. My thoughts turn to Adobe‘s Flash Player ADBE and your runtime Java code.

Lately hackers have been going after other Internet related software to attack other computers. In my work repairing and servicing computers I have seen many spyware attacks that have gone after outdated Java code. Probably one a week, at least. On a few other occasions I have seen some Flash Player attacks, too.

What is Java?

Duke, the Java mascot

Duke, the Java mascot

Many of the web sites you visit have Java code on each and every page of tehir site. Particularly if there are any interactive elements such as chat tools, photo galleries and photo editing tools, calculator tools, and even those jazzy dropdown menus. In fact, much of the software behind this blog runs Java code.

205px-Sun_Microsystems_logo.svgJava is a programming language developed by Sun Microsystems JAVA, and Macs and Windows machines alike use it. That’s what’s so great about it for web designers and programmers is that it works on so many different computers. That is part of the danger, too. Flaws in the Java code can lead to exploits on many different computers, too, and you can’t blame Apple [[AAPL]] or Microsoft [[MSFT]] for that, in my humble opinion. They’re not responsible for oversights on Sun’s part.

Java Updates

If your computer has been alerting you to the fact that Java updates are available, then I recommend you take them. Even better, I recommend you go to www.Java.com and download your Java update directly.

If your computer has never alerted you to the fact that a Java update is available, then I definitely recommend you go to www.Java.com and get the Java update from Sun because, if you’ve never been told to get a Java update, then you are very likely running a very old version of Java.

When downloading use the “Run” or “Open” option instead of “Save” so the software will install itself immediately.

The current version of Java for many computers as of August 2009 is Java 6 update 16. Java updates roughly every 2 or 3 months.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about Adobe’s Flash Player, its applications, and how to update.