Security Experts:

Adobe Flash Player Security Update Fixes 18 Vulnerabilities

Adobe has released Flash Player security updates that address a total of 18 vulnerabilities, most of which could be exploited for arbitrary code execution.

The updates resolve the recently disclosed use-after-free flaw (CVE-2015-0313) that has been exploited in the wild for the distribution of ransomware and the Bedep malware, which is utilized for ad fraud and to download other threats to infected machines. Many of the attacks involve malvertising operations designed to lure users to websites hosting the Hanjuan exploit kit.

Adobe started pushing out patches for CVE-2015-0313 on February 4 through the Flash Player auto-update mechanism. On Thursday, the company made the updates available for manual download. In addition to this bug, the updates address 17 other vulnerabilities.

Three of them are use-after-free flaws (CVE-2015-0315, CVE-2015-0320, CVE-2015-0322) that could lead to remote code execution. They have been reported by the researcher who uses the online moniker “bilou” and Jihui Lu of the KeenTeam through the Chromium Vulnerability Rewards Program.

The latest updates also resolve six memory corruption vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-0314, CVE-2015-0316, CVE-2015-0318, CVE-2015-0321, CVE-2015-0329, CVE-2015-0330) identified by bilou, Robert Święcki of Google, Wen Guanxing from Venustech ADLAB, Mark Brand of Google Project Zero, and an anonymous researcher.

Adobe has also fixed two type confusion vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-0317, CVE-2015-0319), two heap buffer overflows (CVE-2015-0323, CVE-2015-0327), and a buffer overflow (CVE-2015-0324), all of which could lead to arbitrary code execution, the company said in its advisory.

Several null pointer dereference issues (CVE-2015-0325, CVE-2015-0326, CVE-2015-0328) have also been addressed.

Natalie Silvanovich and Ian Beer of the Google Zero Project have each been credited for two vulnerabilities.

Users are advised to update their Flash Player installations to version 16.0.0.305 on Windows and Mac, version 13.0.0.269 on Extended Support Release, and version 11.2.202.442 on Linux. For Google Chrome and Internet Explorer running on Windows 8.x, the patches will be installed automatically.

Adobe has been very busy over the past weeks. In January, the company released security updates for 9 vulnerabilities, after which it patched two zero-day flaws with out-of-band updates. Given this situation, many experts are once again advising users to stop using Flash.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.