Menu
Latest Flash Player version has improved exploit defenses

Latest Flash Player version has improved exploit defenses

Adobe worked with Google to make Flash Player vulnerabilities harder to exploit

The Flash Player update released Tuesday not only fixed two vulnerabilities that were being targeted by attackers, but added additional protections that will make entire classes of security flaws much harder to exploit in the future.

There were three low-level defenses added in Flash Player 18.0.0.209, two of which block a technique that has been used by many Flash exploits since 2013.

The technique involves corrupting the length of an ActionScript Vector buffer object so that malicious code can be placed at predictable locations in memory and executed. ActionScript is the programming language in which Flash applications are written.

This method was used by at least two of the Flash Player exploits found among the files leaked from Italian surveillance software maker Hacking Team, as well as in two other flash zero-day exploits used by cyberespionage groups this year, researchers from Google said in a blog post Thursday.

Google's security engineers contributed a mitigation for this issue that Adobe Systems integrated into the latest Flash Player version. They call it "heap partitioning" and can be used to isolate different objects from one another in the heap. The heap is special region of the computer's memory where programs store variables.

"Chrome uses heap partitioning extensively, and it has become a common defensive technique in multiple browsers," the Google researchers said. "We have now introduced this technology into Flash."

This defensive mechanism is much more powerful for the 64-bit version of Flash Player, so the Google researchers recommend using a 64-bit browser and Flash on computers that run a 64-bit OS.

The 64-bit version of Google Chrome for example also has other performance and security benefits, they said.

Adobe also developed and added its own mitigation for Vector buffer length corruptions that complements the one contributed by Google. Called Vector length validation, this mitigation works better on 32-bit version of Flash than Google's defense and also covers more types of Vectors.

Finally, the new Flash Player update also improves the randomization of the Flash heap thanks to another contribution from Google, making exploitation harder.

For now this defense only exists in the Flash Player plug-in that uses the Pepper Plugin API (PPAPI), like the one bundled in Chrome. However, Adobe plans to add it to the other versions of the plug-in -- the ones designed for Internet Explorer and Firefox -- next month.

The Google researchers expect that attackers will work to find ways around these defenses, but for now the added protection is an important step for Flash Player's security.

"It's a cat-and-mouse-game, but we'll be looking out for attackers' attempts to adapt, and devising further mitigations based on what we see," the researchers said. "Perhaps more importantly, we're also devising a next level of defenses based on what we expect we might see."

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags patchesDetection / preventionintrusionGooglesecurityAdobe SystemsExploits / vulnerabilities

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2015 and 2016 inductees - Darryl Swann, Dave Rosenberg, Gary Bigwood, Keith Watson, Mike Hill and Scott Green - to the inaugural Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed how the channel can collectively work together to benefit New Zealand, the Kiwi skills shortage and the future of the industry. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch
Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Show Comments