You might have noticed that when browsing the internet, the world has suddenly sped up as pages load a lot quicker and there is little or no changing content spread around your home page. Why? Well Mozilla (the makers or Firefox) and Google have finally had enough of the security flaws in Adobe Flash Player and disabled Flash player by default in both Firefox and Google Chrome.
The latest version of Adobe Flash Player (currently versions 184.108.40.206) has been found to contain a number of security flaws which can be exploited to such a degree that it can be used to download and execute malicious software on a machine.
The bugs came to light after an Italian Security firm called Hacking Team were hacked (how surreal is that), and around 400GB of data which contains software flaws and vulnerabilities for a wide assortment of programs was published on the internet.
As soon as this information became public, hackers started to manipulate the flaws in the software to create malicious code that unsuspecting internet users could access, hence the unprecedented step taken to disable Flash Player all together.
So what do you do if your favourite games use Flash Player (Angry Birds for example), well as long as you’re careful you should be OK. A box will appear asking if you want to enable Flash Player. It will look something like this
If it’s a site that you recognise, such as your favourite game, you can click on Activate Adobe Flash. A box will appear at the top left corner of the screen, select Allow Now (better to authorise each time you use it rather than give it access at all times) and away you go. It’s much better to be safe than sorry when there are going to be some pretty nasty malware programs packed into Flash player over the next few days and weeks.
If you like to explore the internet, and click on links in Facebook and Twitter, my advise is to stay clear of anything that involves Flash. It is really easy to put an attractive picture and a comment such as “You’ll never believe what she did next….” to try and entice you to open the post. If it takes you to a site that looks suspect, or is too good to be true, it usually is. The easiest ways to find malware, viruses and suspect programs is to use the word “Free” in a search. I’d probably avoid trying to get free music, movies and games for the next few month too. Use Spotify or YouTube if you want to listen to music, just avoid anything that appears to have copyrighted material for free. Personally I’d rather pay the artist or creator, as at least they have an income to be able to take the time to create some more.
The internet will forever be full of brilliant and innovative things to make life better, more fun and informative. It is also a breeding ground for faceless criminals who would happily steal the clothes off the back of a dying nun. Be safe.