Apple blocks older versions of Adobe Flash on Macs citing security risks

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After what Apple did with certain Java versions, it is repeating the same with Adobe's Flash Player plugin.

In an attempt to protect Mac users from security risks, the Cupertino-based company has blocked older versions of Adobe's Flash plug-in. Further, the company explained that it has already updated its plugin blocking tool built into Safari as highlighted in one of its support documents on the official website.

"To help protect users from a recent vulnerability, Apple has updated the web plug-in-blocking mechanism to disable older versions of the web plug-in: Adobe Flash Player."

The update, noted by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, is likely in response to recently exposed vulnerabilities in Flash.

In order to block older versions of Flash, Apple has updated its "Xprotect.plist" file that makes previous versions that come before the current one (version 11.6.602.171), non-usable on a Mac. Those who have older versions of Flash installed will be greeted with an alert that says "Blocked plug-in," and Safari will prompt the user to update to a newer version.

If users want to check which version of Flash they currently have installed, they can visit Adobe's website to get the version number and perform an update if necessary. Users can read further download instructions here (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5655).

Last month, Adobe rushed out a fix for Flash Player after security software maker Kaspersky Lab identified a critical bug that enabled hackers to install "back doors" and take control of PCs running on Microsoft Corp's Windows operating system or Apple's  Mac OS X.

In October last year, an update for Lion and Mountain Lion removed Apple's own Java applet plugin from all browsers. In order to access content on such sites, users were directed towards the Oracle site to manually download the plugin.

Previously, Apple stopped including pre-installed versions of Java with Macs (starting with Lion), and then later released an update that disabled Java if it hadn't been used in a certain period of time. If you choose to install the plugin, you'll also need to install Oracle-provided Java, in parallel with Apple's own Java (if already installed), but that's something you needn't worry about as the end user.  

More recently, Apple blocked Java on Macs due to vulnerabilities as directed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which recommended disabling Java in Web browsers to avoid potential hacking attacks.

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