Archive for the ‘flash’ Category

Even More Debian Updates, Flash Security

June 27, 2010

I have 42 updates this morning between the two computers on which I run Debian. These include a new kernel and updates for things ranging from cpio and tar to texlive to apt to openssl to gtk2. And that’s just scratching the surface. As has been the case the last few times I’ve updated, the patches precede their announcements. I’ll try to remember to look later and update for a summary of their severity. My hunch is that some of these are probably pretty serious (openssl, gtk2, tar/cpio).

One thing I noticed has not updated via Debian (non-free) even though I have it set up: Adobe Flash. I recommend manually updating that (if you use it) and using whatever tools or plugins your browser uses to allow Flash to work on a per-site basis (see my article explaining how to block Flash by default in IE8). This page at Adobe will show you what version of Flash you’re using to compare with the latest versions available. You can download the DEB or RPM and install per those respective tools, or you can get the tarball, extract, and copy over the existing (path for Debian: /usr/lib/flashplugin_nonfree/ or to your $HOME/.mozilla/plugins directory.

Disabling Flash and Other Addons in IE8

March 19, 2010

Flash is ubiquitous, and that means it’s going to be one of the targets used by the criminal class to attack users. Most users allow it to run full stop regardless of whether they trust sites or not. This is probably not a good idea given the frequency of Adobe’s need to patch Flash. Flash should only be allowed to run from trusted sites, and probably only as needed.

I wanted to see if I could find something that would allow me to control when and where Flash works while using IE8 on my Aspire One. Turns out you don’t need an add-on to control your other add-ons — Microsoft enables such granularity within IE8.

Go to Tools-Manage Add-ons. Find Flash (you may have to select the “show all” option to find it). When you open the settings, you can “remove all sites” (the * wildmark is probably listed). Once you do that, you’ll be able to set new rules for which sites can run Flash on your computer.

When you hit a site with Flash content, you’ll get a notice on the top part of the browser area asking if you want to enable it. Select yes and you’ll allow Flash from that particular site. Don’t do anything and you’ll only be prompted again in the future.

You can (should) periodically review which sites you allow and remove ones you don’t want to permanently run Flash without interaction. This gives you, the user, ultimate control over which sites do what with your browser. And it’s not limited to Flash — you can set up and control all your add-ons the same way.