Apple Sandboxes Adobe Flash Player for Safari 7.0

Apple users, are you still deciding whether or not to upgrade to OS X Mavericks?

This should help you decide: Mavericks, combined with the latest version of Apple's Safari browser, now makes Adobe Flash Player much safer.

Safari 7.0, released this week for OS X Mavericks only, runs Adobe Flash Player in what's called a sandbox: a secure, separate environment that limits Flash's access to the rest of your computer.

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Adobe Flash Player has long been a thorn in the side of Web users and developers alike. So much of the Web still uses Flash to support videos and other animated content, yet Flash is also notoriously unsafe.

To turn Flash content into a viewable video, game or clickable item, browsers use Flash "plugins," or software extensions.

These plugins connect Web-based content with the software saved on your computer, thereby opening up a number of less-than-secure pathways that leave your computer vulnerable.

Implementing a sandbox closes off some of these potential attack vectors that cybercriminals could use to invade your computer. However, sandboxing doesn't make Flash perfectly secure.

You can also disable Flash entirely by going into your browser's Settings menu.

Apple has been particularly tough on Flash in the past. Steve Jobs declared in a 2010 talk that Flash would no longer be supported on any iOS devices, citing security concerns as his main reason.

Many content creators are working to move from Flash to HTML5, a safer and more robust video-playing mechanism.

But meanwhile, other browsers have already taken steps to safely run Flash content. Google, Mozilla and Microsoft have all worked with Adobe to develop sandboxes for Flash in the companies' Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers, respectively.

Mac users running OS X Mavericks can download Safari 7.0, which automatically runs the Flash sandbox, at

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Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She's currently Project Lead Writer at the games studio Harebrained Schemes, and has also worked at Bungie. Prior to that she worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation among many subjects.