Windows 8 Users Vulnerable to Adobe Flash Threat

Dennis Faas's picture

After initially indicating that it would not fix an Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) security bug until Windows 8's official October, 2012 release, Microsoft now says it will provide a patch "shortly".

The problem is associated with Adobe Flash, software that supports multimedia and interactive content for web pages. A recently discovered bug in Flash led to Adobe issuing a security update for the Flash Player.

The security update addressed six individual security flaws, all rated 'critical' by Adobe. Any one of them could allow a hacker to crash a computer when trying, for example, to disrupt a business.

Five of the bugs could even allow a hacker to remotely execute code on a computer, potentially causing great damage.

For users of Internet Explorer 9 and earlier released versions of the popular Microsoft browser, there's nothing to worry about. In those browsers, the Flash Player is a separate "plug-in" software that will be updated automatically by Adobe.

But Internet Explorer 10 has its Flash tools built directly into the browser software. As a result, current users of IE10 are vulnerable.

Windows 8 Must Wait For Security Patch

Adobe has already released updates to repair its separate Flash player, and Google has recently fixed the problem in its Chrome browser (which also has Flash built-in).

Microsoft had originally said it would only provide an update when Windows 8 became available to the general public. (Source:

However, the firm now says it will provide a fix "shortly," which could either mean in the coming days or in a few weeks' time.

Windows 8 Test Edition Users Need Be Alert

If you are running a test edition of Windows 8, your security is compromised until Microsoft releases a fix or you take one of several possible steps.

First, you may want to stop using Windows 8 the test edition altogether, and wait for the updated security that comes with the official release of the new operating system.

Second, you could stop using IE10 and switch to a different web browser, such as Google's Chrome or Mozilla's Firefox.

Third, you may choose to switch off the Flash capabilities in Internet Explorer. To do this, click the gear icon in Internet Explorer 10, select "Manage Add-ons", then find the listing for Shockwave Flash Object and select "Disable."

Fourth, you can click the gear icon in IE10 and select "Safety," then uncheck the box for "ActiveX Filtering."

This turns off Flash. You can activate it temporarily if you wish, such as when you visit a trusted webpage, by clicking the correct icon (blue circle with a diagonal line through it) in the IE10 address bar. (Source:

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