Adobe moves up Flash fix, will patch bug today

Adobe has accelerated the delivery of a patch for a critical vulnerability in Flash and will ship the fix today, rather than next week as originally scheduled.

Chrome users, however, got the patch three days ago, one of the benefits of an April Google-Adobe deal.

The bug, which Adobe acknowledged Sept. 13, can be used by attackers to commandeer machines running the popular media player. According to the US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) hackers can exploit the vulnerability by enticing users to a malicious Web site, or by getting them to open rigged PDF or Microsoft Word documents.

Adobe last week called the ongoing attacks “targeted” and “limited,” and aimed only at Windows users. Security vendors have also unearthed in-the-wild threats leveraging the Flash bug.

On the day it disclosed the vulnerability, Adobe said it would issue a patch during the week of Sept. 27. Last Friday, however, the company announced it would instead update Flash today.

Adobe did not give a reason for the schedule change. One possibility is that attacks have increased: Vendors weigh attack numbers and trends when they make decisions about whether to release an emergency update and when.

But people running Chrome don’t have to wait for today’s patch.

Last April, Google and Adobe struck a deal that lets the former bundle Adobe’s Flash plug-in with Chrome and upgrade the plug-in using the browser’s own silent updater.

On Friday, Google released Chrome 6.0.472.62 with a patched Flash. That means Adobe gave the fix to Google, and then Google to Chrome users, at least three days before handing it out to others.

Although Adobe’s Reader and Acrobat also contain the Flash bug, their patch plans have not changed; both are still slated for an update sometime during the week of Oct. 4, Adobe repeated Friday.

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