Adobe Flash Player has long been the brunt of attacks by cybercrooks and hackers who look to exploit the many vulnerabilities found in the multimedia platform software over the course of several years. It is almost a monthly occurrence that we expect to see a new version of Flash Player roll out to address vulnerabilities exploited by hackers.
In the latest rash of Flash Player exploitations, a gaping security hole was discovered allowing hackers to exploit it through a targeted attack eventually delivering ransomware from the Crypto Defense family. Such ransomware has been a serious force with multiple threats that are designed to encrypt files on an infected computer and later offer a decryption key for a ridiculous fee.
Cryptoransomware, such as CryptoLocker, CryptoWall and others, have been brightly lit up on our radar screen as of late. Many of the emerging ransomware threats are from the same Crypto Defense family of ransomware where each of them are known for scrambling data on files and demanding an outrageous fee to "fix" the issue. With one of the latest versions of Flash Player having a vulnerability that may aid in the spread of such ransomware, cybercrooks will take this time to capitalize on the ransomware scheme.
How the current Flash Player vulnerability is working is by the use of exploit kits and the attack code of the CVE-2015-3113 Flash bug. Cybercrooks are steadily packaging this vulnerability into an exploit kit that is called Magnitude. Distribution and sales of the kit are other means for cybercrooks to garnish a quick payday. The typical means of cybercrooks and hackers conjuring their own exploit methods is now bundled within a self-contained exploit kit that takes advantage of a recent Flash Player vulnerability. In this, the exploitation will dish out Crypto Ransomware threats to potently wreak havoc on another level.
Flash Player has a history of dishing out several updates – mostly to address discovered vulnerabilities. In recent cases, due to everyone knowing that Adobe will send their patches and updates on the second Tuesday of the month, cybercrooks and hackers initiate some of their exploitation activities between updates. In some instances, Adobe has been forced to deliver unexpected updates as an emergency to patch something as severe as this latest vulnerability that allegedly delivers ransomware threats.
Security researchers and other experts are urging computer users to utilize caution and perform a self-assessment to determine if they need to install or use Flash. Those that do have Flash installed are recommended to perform the latest update from the Adobe site. Moreover, it should be noted that the Adobe site is the only location that should be used for updates as there are many faux Flash Player updates and locations available on the internet that are mostly malicious.
As another proactive measure to prevent infection from ransomware and Flash Player vulnerabilities, computer users should keep other software, such as Windows, updated. It is prudent that those still running Windows XP consider an upgrade to at least Windows 7. Hackers are prone to taking advantage of Windows XP vulnerabilities, which will no longer be patched due to the outdated operating system no longer being supported by Microsoft.