Adobe have released Flash Player 11.5 with many security updates and fixes – the release is a week early due to the critical nature of the flaws. Most websites use Flash Player to display multimedia content e.g. you may need it to watch streaming videos like those on YouTube so you probably already have it installed on your PC.
The new version 11.5 also includes a variety of technical changes and new features. As usual, installing the latest version is highly recommended (if only for security reasons). Flash Player 11.5 includes critical updates to address vulnerabilities that could cause Flash Player to crash or let an attacker take control of your computer.
Users who have set Flash Player to receive updates automatically should already have received this update (or will do soon). For other users, updates for Windows and Mac can be downloaded from Adobe here. Linux users should update to 18.104.22.168 whilst Android users should upgrade to the latest 22.214.171.124 (Android 4.x) or 126.96.36.199 (Android 3.x and lower).
Google Chrome contains an integrated Flash Player which is updated automatically so there is no need to apply any specific Adobe updates, just keep Chrome up to date. We have previously explained why you should update Flash Player and it is particularly important to install security updates as it is so regularly targeted by viruses and hackers.
There are many other changes in 11.5 – overall, twenty issues have been fixed (see the Release Notes for full details). In addition there are some new technical features of interest mainly to developers.
Flash Player seems to have been in a real mess over the last few months with constant new updates causing serious issues for many users of both Chrome and Firefox, as well as IE. Hopefully this new version may fix some of those problems – and not introduce others.
The increasing frequency of critical security updates can be seen as either a good sign that Adobe are actively closing loopholes or as an indication of how often Flash Player is targeted by malware creators – in the latest Kaspersky malware report, Flash Player was responsible for 3 of the top 10 most common vulnerabilities found. Furthermore, 5 out of the top 10 vulnerabilities were found in Adobe products.