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On April 5, Adobe issued a security advisory stating that a vulnerability (which they have codenamed CVE-2016-1019) is present in Adobe Flash Player as well as earlier versions. This vulnerability affects Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Chrome OS.

Critical Vulnerability

CVE-2016-1019, which was reported by representatives from Google, FireEye, Inc., and EmergingThreats/Proofpoint, is categorized as a “critical” vulnerability. If it’s exploited, it can cause computers and other devices to crash and allow hackers to get access to the system and have full control of it. In fact, Adobe has received reports that hackers are already exploiting CVE-2016-1019 in systems that are using Windows 10 and earlier and are running on Adobe Flash Player and earlier versions.

Protecting Users from CVE-2016-1019

Adobe points out that a mitigation to this vulnerability has already been introduced in Adobe Flash Player This mitigation protects those who are using version as well as later versions. Adobe encourages users to update to the current version so they can protect themselves and their systems from the CVE-2016-1019 vulnerability.

If you use Adobe Flash Player but aren’t sure what version you have, you can go to the Flash Player page to find out. You can also know the version you’re using by opening content that uses Flash Player, right-clicking on it to pull up a menu, and selecting “About Adobe Flash Player” or “About Macromedia Flash Player”. If you use several browsers, perform this on every browser since they may not necessarily be running on the same Adobe Flash Player version.

If you find that you’re using version or earlier, you can update it by going to the Adobe Flash Player Download Center. Make sure to download the update for all the browsers you regularly use. If you’re not willing to update your Flash Player, your can want for the security update that, according to Adobe, will be released on April 7.

Takeaway Lessons

This can be worrisome to Adobe Flash Player users, but vulnerabilities can usually be avoided by downloading the latest versions, which contain the newest security patches that Adobe has developed. If your computer is running on Windows or Mac OS X, you might notice that Flash Player automatically checks for updates. However, these updates have to be installed before they can take effect, so you can either remind yourself to manually install them or set up your computer to automatically do so. Either way, you’ll stay on top of the latest security patches and protect your system from vulnerabilities that hackers can easily exploit.