emergency adobe Flash updateIf you are using a Windows-operated PC, chances are you have Adobe Flash installed on your computer. This often-maligned software platform has been in the news countless times over the years due to its many security flaws, but unfortunately, it still continues to be necessary in order to view certain web pages properly. If you haven’t already gotten rid of it outright, then you’re going to want to make sure you update it as soon as possible, as Adobe put out a security bulletin on April 7 warning users of a critical vulnerability that leaves them open to ransomware attacks. As a result of this bug, an emergency Adobe Flash update is being pushed for all Windows systems using Flash Player version 20.0.0.306 or earlier. Keep reading to learn how to update.

Here’s how to ensure your Adobe is updated

There are two ways to check what version of Flash is running on your computer so you can determine if you need to run the emergency Adobe Flash update. First, you can visit the About Flash Player page on the Adobe website, which should display a box telling you what version of the program you’re running. Second, you can open a website that uses Flash, right-click on the content running in Flash and select “About Adobe (or Macromedia) Flash Player” from the menu. It’s important to perform this action for each Internet browser you use — so, if you use Firefox and Chrome on your PC, check which version you have on each one individually. Even if you have a browser installed that you don’t use very often, such as Internet Explorer, it’s still wise to check for an Adobe update just in case.

If it turns out you’re running version 20.0.0.306 or earlier and need to update, you can do so quite easily. Many modern browsers, such as Google Chrome, automatically update Adobe Flash so you don’t have to worry about it. But if you’re using another browser or just want to be absolutely certain, you can follow the instructions on this page to download the plugin and run an update.

Why is this particular bug such a big deal?

The bug which prompted this emergency update was identified by three separate researchers, including computer security firm Proofpoint. It allows ransomware to be installed on a computer which visits an infected website. Currently, many individuals and businesses like hospitals and schools are finding themselves targeted by ransomware, which is a type of malware that locks down files or entire computer systems and holds them hostage until the user pays money to get them back. It’s best to be aware of ransomware and other less-familiar computer security risks, such as malvertising, so you can stay safe while you’re online.

If you’d like some help navigating the web, you can turn to an Internet security software, most of which offer protection from viruses and malware as well as help keeping your computer’s operating system and programs up to date so you’re protected in situations like this. Learn more about what different security programs have to offer by reading our Internet security software reviews.