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Snow Leopard: Apple ships old, security-compromised Flash plugin with new OS


It's not that we have anything against the Flash plugin for Mac browsers. Well, other than the fact that it's crashy, and slow, and makes our laptop fans spin up like we're doing wind tunnel testing for the Air Force. But other than that, we have nothing against it -- and it's lovely that the new 64-bit version of Safari in Snow Leopard can isolate Flash-related stalls and hiccups from the main browser process for enhanced crash protection. Very nice.

Unfortunately, as pointed out initially by Graham Cluley over at the security and anti-virus vendor Sophos, the version of the Flash plugin that Apple bundles with Snow Leopard is old. It's the version, old enough that it has some notable vulnerabilities versus the currently shipping version. You can check which version of the plugin you have by visiting this Adobe check page. Even if you had the current build on your machine before upgrading to Snow Leopard, the upgrade process replaces your Flash with the vintage Flash instead -- poor form! Cluley recommends, and Adobe concurs, that the best thing to do is head over to Adobe's download site and get the most up-to-date version instead.

It's understandable that Apple had to lock down a version of the Flash plugin for inclusion in the OS golden master, but if you're gonna do that then you've got to provide an integrated method for users to update to the current build when the time comes (like, say, via an OS-wide Software Update utility). Downgrading user security while upgrading OS versions is a rotten way to run a railroad.

[Side note, does Cluley's narration in the video above make you wonder if, just maybe, he's moonlighting as Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw over at The Escapist? NSFW!]

Thanks to everyone who sent this in.

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