On December 28th Adobe released a new version of their Flash Player with 19 bug fixes. It seems they left one out. On New Years Day, Flash for Windows was updated yet again.
I stumbled across this, interestingly enough, on a Chromebook.
The arrow appeared in the bottom right corner of the Chromebook indicating that a reboot was available to update the system. After rebooting, I went to the Adobe Flash Tester site to insure the system had picked up the Flash update from four days ago, version 188.8.131.527.
It had not. The Chromebook was running Flash version 184.108.40.206 which was released back on December 8th. The latest version for Chrome OS is 220.127.116.117 released on December 28th.
Thinking this might be a browser cache issue, I double checked the installed version of Flash by entering
chrome://flash in the address bar. This too, reported version 18.104.22.168.
As with the Windows version of Chrome, a Chromebook will report that it is up to date (
chrome://help in the address bar) despite a missing Flash update. As Yoda might say: act together Google needs.
For the record, Chrome OS was version 47.0.2526.106 and another Chromebook had the exact same results.
While checking out the Chromebooks, I noticed that the Adobe page reported a new version Internet Explorer on Windows (below). Interestingly, the update does not apply to Internet Explorer on Windows 8.x and 10.
The Adobe Security Bulletin from December 28th has not been updated with any mention of version 22.214.171.1240.
But, an online search turned up an Adobe forum post from today (January 2nd) by Chris Campbell of Adobe that says
The next version of Flash Player is available for immediate download. In today's release we've updated Flash Player ActiveX for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 with a critical functional bug fix.
The forum post links to Release notes for Flash Player version 20 which were updated on New Years Day to say
In today's release, we've updated Flash Player ActiveX for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. This release addresses a problem with Flash Player improperly loading in applications that have it embedded. We are working with Microsoft to provide this update to Windows 8 and Windows 10 users as soon as possible ... Customers using Google Chrome or Windows 8.x/10 Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge will receive the update through the Google and Microsoft update mechanisms.
No mention of Firefox, curiously.
The Flash Player download page offers confirmation of the update. Visiting it on Windows 7 with Internet Explorer, it currently offers to install version 126.96.36.1990.
On Windows 8, things can only be described as weird. As you can see below, from Internet Explorer, Adobe reports that Flash version 188.8.131.527 is both the latest and, at the same time, out of date. Clicking the yellow Update Now button does not update anything.
Windows 8 users should thus avoid Internet Explorer. Of course, this has been true for years.
Since this is a "functional bug fix" Adobe may not issue a Security Bulletin. There is no security problem if one plus one equals three.
Just a problem.
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Update: January 4, 2016. It seems that Windows 7, Vista and XP users are the lucky ones - they got the patch first. Flash 184.108.40.2067 appears to be causing more than its share of grief on Windows 10. For more, see Win10 Flash patch KB 3132372 breaks Skype, HP Solutions Center, Incredimail, games by Woody Leonhard, written today.
As for Defensive Computing with Flash, it deserves the treatment previously suggested for Java. Have it disabled or not-installed in the web browser you regularly use. Have it available in a secondary browser used only on the sites that require Flash. And, for further protection, configure that secondary browser for click-to-play so that Flash does not run automatically when a web page loads.
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Update: January 6, 2016 9AM PT. The Adobe forum posting was updated yesterday, the 5th, to say that Microsoft would update Flash on Windows 10 on the 5th. As of now, the Adobe Flash Tester page shows no available update for Windows 10. And, there has been no change on Windows 8, where Flash 220.127.116.117 is still both the latest version and out of date.
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Update: January 7, 2016 8AM PT. Microsoft and Adobe disagree about Flash on Windows 10. The Adobe Tester page says that the latest version is still 18.104.22.1687. However, on January 5th, Microsoft released Update for Adobe Flash Player in Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge that brings it up to 22.214.171.1242. This latest Flash update from Microsoft applies to Windows 10 Version 1511.
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Update: January 8, 2016 3PM PT. My Chromebook has finally been updated to the latest Flash for Chrome OS, version 126.96.36.1997.
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Update: January 9, 2016 7AM PT. No change on Windows 8, where things remain weird - the latest Flash version is out of date. At this point, I can only conclude that neither company cares.