Adobe Flash Player just updated earlier this month with an out-of-band patch but a new update today makes 18.104.22.168 available. On the older branch, Flash Player updated to 10.3.183.18. With the 10.3 update, Adobe is dropping support for Internet Explorer 6.
Adobe Flash Player 11.2 also includes a new background updater for Adobe Flash Player, modeled after the way Flash works with Google Chrome.
After a successful installation of Adobe Flash Player 11.2, users will be presented with a dialog box to choose an update method. The following three update options are available to users:
- Install updates automatically when available (recommended)
- Notify me when updates are available
- Never check for updates (not recommended)
The preferences can be changed through the Flash Player Settings Manager, found in the Control Panel, if you later change your mind and wish to change the settings. It sounds like this updater will be a great convenience for home users and help keep the plugin up-to-date across multiple browsers.
For our initial release, we have set the new background updater to check for updates once an hour until it gets a response from Adobe. If the response says there is no new update, then it will wait 24 hours before checking again. We accomplish this through the Windows Task Manager to avoid running a background service on the system. If you are running multiple browsers on your system, the background updater will update every browser. This will solve the problem of end-users having to update Flash Player for Internet Explorer separately from Flash Player for their other open-source browsers. Google Chrome users, who have the integrated Flash Player, will still be updated through the Chrome update system.
I bet that is supposed to be Windows Task Scheduler, not Task Manager.
And for enterprises?
Organizations with managed environments do have the capability to disable the background updater feature through the Flash Player mms.cfg file. Also, those users who want to be notified of updates and do not want to be silently updated can continue to use the existing update mechanism. Lastly, the background updater feature is currently Windows-only for Windows XP and newer operating systems. A Mac version is currently under development.
In an interesting sidebar, Adobe is going to require confirmation before an update will be installed if it changes the default settings. The main hope of the silent updater is to enable Adobe to respond more quickly with greater saturation against zero day attacks.
I do want to note that we are not promising that all Flash Player updates going forward will be completely silent. We will be making the decision to silently install on a case-by-case basis. For instance, any update that changes the default settings of Flash Player will require confirmation from end-users even if they have already agreed to allowing background updates. Today’s update is an example of where confirmation would be required since we are changing how updates get applied to the user’s machine. However, we could apply a zero-day patch without requiring end-user confirmation, so long as the user has agreed to receiving background updates. Adobe will also continue to release feature-bearing releases that will trigger an update notification to users that highlight new and exciting features to the Flash Player.