Adobe releases sandboxed Flash beta for Firefox

Protected mode caps privileged access.
  • Liam Tung (CSO Online)
  • — 07 February, 2012 12:43

Adobe has released an important security feature for Flash Player on Firefox 4.0 and higher, delivering a public beta that sandboxes its processes in the browser on Windows.

The Protected Mode beta version of Flash will establish a "low integrity, highly restricted process that must communicate through a broker to limit its privileged activities", protecting its resources from being exploited by malicious code without isolating it from other applications it needs to interact with.

Protected Mode Flash for Firefox 4.0 or later will be supported on Windows Vista and Windows 7.

By contrast Adobe and Google delivered its developer sandboxing for Flash Player late last year on a developer channel version of Chrome that was supported on Windows, Vista and XP systems.

The sandboxing employed for Flash Player -- one of the most targeted pieces of software by hackers who are [xref: http://www.securelist.com/en/analysis/204792186/IT_Threat_Evolution_Q2_2011|spoilt for choice|]], according to Kaspersky Lab, when it comes to flaws in the software -- is similar to its implementation of sandboxing for Adobe Reader Protected Mode.

The advantage of sanbdoxing was illustrated by a recent emergency patch Adobe issued for earlier versions of Acrobat without Protected View or Protected Mode. Although the sandboxed versions were vulnerable to the same flaw, it could not be exploited, reducing the urgency to deliver an immediate patch.

"Sandboxing technology has proven very effective in protecting users by increasing the cost and complexity of authoring effective exploits. For example, since its launch in November 2010, we have not seen a single successful exploit in the wild against Adobe Reader X," wrote Peleus Uhley, Adobe platform security strategist.

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