Software giant Adobe is urging Flash users to download a software patch after the discovery of flaw that could be exploited by hackers.

Adobe Flash is a plug-in used by browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome to play video content. It runs in the background of your computer, so there’s a high chance you are using it without realising.

 

What has happened?

Security website FireEye discovered hackers were targeting vulnerability in Adobe Flash Player called CVE-2015-3113. 

Writing on the company’s blog Erica Eng and Dan Caselden said malicious emails were being sent that “included links to compromised web servers that served either benign content or a malicious Adobe Flash Player file that exploits CVE-2015-3113.”

FireEye informed Adobe of its discovery and Adobe released a software patch.

In a statement Adobe said the patch “addresses a critical vulnerability (CVE-2015-3113) that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

“Adobe is aware of reports that CVE-2015-3113 is being actively exploited in the wild via limited, targeted attacks. Systems running Internet Explorer for Windows 7 and below, as well as Firefox on Windows XP, are known targets. “

 

Who is affected?

Adobe has classified the issue as ‘Priority 1’ - the highest risk.

PCs with Windows, Mac and Linux are affected running the following versions of Flash Player

  • Adobe Flash Player 18.0.0.161 and earlier versions for Windows and MacintosH
  • Adobe Flash Player Extended Support Release version 13.0.0.292 and earlier 13.x versions for Windows and Macintosh
  • Adobe Flash Player 11.2.202.466 and earlier 11.x versions for Linux 

[Related story: What is a computer virus?]

What do I need to do?

To update Flash and close the loophole to hackers, take the following steps:

1: Visit www.adobe.com/software/flash/about/ to find out which version you are running. You need to be on version 18.0.0.194.

2: If your software is out of date go to https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ and install the update. Make sure you deselect any ‘Optional offers’ that appear.

3: Repeat one and two for each browser you are using. Adobe Flash Player installed with Google Chrome and Internet Explorer on Windows 8.x should update automatically.

4: Alternatively if you use Internet Explorer, click the Start menu and enter Windows Update in the search box and let your computer search for updates.

It’s important to make sure your security software is up to date. To find out how, check out Seven easy tips to protect your PC against malware and the video above.