Should Adobe auto-update Flash and PDF Reader?

This year has seen Adobe plugin exploits hit the headlines. Is it time that the company automatically updates its software?

Adobe Flash symbol

Adobe needs to find a way to make sure that all of the users of its software are updated automatically, according to a leading security researcher.

Mikko Hypponen, chief security researcher for F-Secure, said that users were not typically found vulnerable through their operating systems, but rather through plugins and add-ons found inside internet browsers.

This means software such as Adobe PDF Reader and Flash, Java or Quicktime. While Windows is updated automatically, these are still left unpatched and therefore vulnerable to new exploits.

This is especially dangerous as Adobe Flash has a bigger market share than even Windows, and Mac and Linux users often had it on their systems. Of these users, 80 per cent ran old Flash.

It is also problematic that users aren't required to click on a Flash or PDF file, as you can get infected by simply browsing a website.

"That's the way that attackers gain way, and if you look at the market share of things like Adobe Flash or the PDF reader plugin, they are huge," said Hyponnen.

"Most of them are not up to date. Microsoft can do this, so Adobe should be able to do this as well."

Security exploits against QuickTime plugins were also an issue, which users often didn't install but found in their systems.

"It's because I have an iPod," Hyponnen said. "And because I have an iPod I have to install iTunes. When I install it will, without asking me, install QuickTime automatically."

QuickTime automatically installs a plugin inside a web browser, which means that if there is a flaw, it could be exploited.

"I'm not concerned with updating QuickTime. I've never even installed it," he added.

Adobe had not responded to request for comment at the time of publication.

Featured Resources

Shining light on new 'cool' cloud technologies and their drawbacks

IONOS Cloud Up! Summit, Cloud Technology Session with Russell Barley

Watch now

Build mobile and web apps faster

Three proven tips to accelerate modern app development

Free download

Reduce the carbon footprint of IT operations up to 88%

A carbon reduction opportunity

Free Download

Comparing serverless and server-based technologies

Determining the total cost of ownership

Free download

Recommended

Adobe rolls out new PayPal payment options through Adobe Commerce
e commerce

Adobe rolls out new PayPal payment options through Adobe Commerce

16 Sep 2021
The benefits and drawbacks of flash storage in 2021
flash storage

The benefits and drawbacks of flash storage in 2021

14 Sep 2021
Signs it’s time to upgrade your CMS
Whitepaper

Signs it’s time to upgrade your CMS

23 Aug 2021
Engaging the new digital workforce blueprint
Whitepaper

Engaging the new digital workforce blueprint

23 Aug 2021

Most Popular

What should you really be asking about your remote access software?
Sponsored

What should you really be asking about your remote access software?

17 Nov 2021
How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD
Microsoft Windows

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD

24 Nov 2021
What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

30 Nov 2021