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Adobe releases emergency Flash patch

Adobe releases emergency Flash patch

Adobe is working hard to stay one step ahead of hackers who want to use its Flash browser plug-in to attack millions of computers at once. After a string of embarrassing zero-day security flaws this summer that led to Firefox blocking Flash entirely, Adobe is finally back to fixing problems before hackers exploit them.

In fact, it just released an update that fixes almost two-dozen security problems in Flash. These range from remote exploits to memory overflows, but the bottom line is that hackers can use most of them to attack your computer.

Users of Chrome, Internet Explorer 10+ and Microsoft Edge just need to restart your browser to get the latest version, which is 19.0.0.185. Everyone else will want to download the update immediately.

However, that's not the most important news this time around. In fact, there's a much bigger Adobe security problem that just came to our attention.

Instead of the standalone Adobe Flash, many computers use Adobe Shockwave instead. This is a larger browser plug-in Adobe makes that includes Flash.

Unfortunately, the version of Flash that Shockwave uses is versions old and has 155 of the major security problems that Adobe has already fixed elsewhere. If you have Shockwave installed, you need to get rid of it immediately and install the standalone version of Flash.

To see if Shockwave is installed, go to Control Panel. In Windows Vista or 7 go to Start>>Control Panel. In Windows 8.1 or 10, right-click on the Start button and select Control Panel.

In the Control Panel under "Programs" click "Uninstall a program." Look at the list for "Adobe Shockwave," select it and click "Uninstall/Change," then uninstall the program. Now you can install Flash.

Of course, given the security trouble Flash is having, you might want to see if you can live without it. Find out how to disable Flash in every browser to see if you really need it anymore.

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