Google Squeezes Flash into Chrome

The move is part of an effort to let browsers and plug-ins interact more easily.

By Erica Naone – THURSDAY, APRIL 01, 2010

Adobe’s Flash Player has come under fire from developers and companies who question its necessity, but the plug-in has just received a big vote of confidence from Google.

This week, Google announced that its Chrome browser will come with Flash built in. And Google, Adobe, and another browser maker, Mozilla, have revealed plans to improve the way plug-ins interface with browsers. This could lead to better performance, security, and user experience for Flash and other plug-ins, say those involved.

Flash is commonly used to add graphics, interactive features, video, and animation to websites. But users have to download and install Flash to make these features work, and they need to download newer versions to keep it up-to-date.

Google now plans to bundle Flash with Chrome downloads, and to make it part of Chrome’s automatic update system. This means users should always run the most recent, stable, and secure version. In the future, Google and Adobe plan to work on deeper integrated features, such as finding a way for Chrome’s unique security system to work in conjunction with Flash.

Read the full article at Technology Review

Hacking the Smart Grid

One researcher shows how your house’s power could be shut down remotely, but the threat is only theoretical–for now.

By Robert Lemos – MONDAY, APRIL 05, 2010

Components of the next-generation smart-energy grid could be hacked in order to change household power settings or to spoof communications with a utility’s network, according to a study of three pilot implementations.

The problems were highlighted in a presentation given last week by security researcher Joshua Wright of InGuardians, a consulting firm with many infrastructure companies among its clients. Vulnerabilities discovered by Wright could let attackers remotely connect to a device or to intercept communications with the managing power company.

The report caused a kerfuffle, and InGuardians has refused to disclose further details. However, one expert familiar with the content of Wright’s presentation says that it highlights security problems with many devices. “These are fairly common mistakes,” says Marcus Sachs, director of the Internet Storm Center, part of the SANS Institute, where Wright presented his research. “Most of the wireless meters are subject to the same vulnerabilities that we saw [in Wi-Fi devices] 10 years ago.”

Read more at Technology Review