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Windows 8 / RT – Metro Internet Explorer 10 flash whitelist to be replaced by a blacklist

Up until now in Windows 8 and Windows RT, the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 would only run flash on websites that were whitelisted in the Internet Explorer Compatibility View list. Even though you could add websites to the whitelist (I even made a script for it), most people didn’t knew it or just aren’t that handy with computers to fix this themselves. This ofcourse leads to a bad user experience.

Now Microsoft has decided to allow all flash websites and only blacklist some that don’t meet the standard (apparently less than 4% of the tested websites). You can read more about it here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2013/03/11/flash-in-windows-8.aspx

I think this is a good move, because it gives an advantage over other tablets. I think this should’ve been this way from the start, but better late than never.

 

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Security – Java releases update for major Java vulnerability

Last sunday I warned about a major vulnerability in Java.

It wasn’t expected that Java would come have an update available this quickly, but it is good that they did. So be sure to update to Java 7 Update 11 : http://java.com

 

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Security – Major Java vulnerability, don’t become a victim

[EDIT 14-01-2013]

Oracle release Java 7 Update 11 to fix this security issue. Be sure to update: http://java.com/

[EDIT]

Normally when I read about security vulnerabilities, I don’t really get a sense of urgency.

With the current Java vulnerability however, I do feel like people have to act quick because there are so many respected companies and even countries actively taking action:

Apparently this vulnerability is actively being exploited already and Oracle hasn’t released a Java fix yet. You might want to consider a combination of the options below:

Personally I like the way FireFox is handling the issue because it blocks by default, but allows users to easily override this behavior for specific sites. Also I’m getting quite fed up with all these Java security vulnerabilities lately 😦

I’d like to know what you’ll be doing. Have you or are you going to disable Java ? Which methods will you use ? Why ?

 

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PowerShell – Add websites to the Flash whitelist for Internet Explorer 10 (Metro – Modern UI)

[EDIT] 09-04-2013 : As described in my blog post, this script has become unnecessary for most people. This is because Microsoft to allow almost every Flash site by default. [EDIT]

[EDIT] 13-01-2013 : Apparently for Windows RT, the script doesn’t seem to be working yet. Unfortunately I have no Windows RT to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. [EDIT]

Windows 8 and Windows RT include support for Flash in Internet Explorer 10.

In Windows 8 there are however two version of Internet Explorer 10 that handle flash websites differently. First there’s Internet Explorer 10 Desktop, which is similar as the Internet Explorer you’ve been used to with previous versions of Windows. Then there’s also Internet Explorer 10 (non Desktop), which is the Internet Explorer in the new modern/Windows interface (Metro) that is full screen.

Internet Explorer 10 Desktop allows Flash for all websites. Internet Explorer 10 (Metro) only allows Flash for websites that have been whitelisted.

Especially for Windows tablets, Flash support can be a selling point because most other tablets don’t have Flash support. It is however confusing for regular consumers that not all their websites will work. By example a friend of mine who’s a hairdresser, uses http://www.kapperssite.nl to show her customers hair models and their haircuts. The site is however completely in Flash and that it is not working by default is very annoying.

The websites that have been whitelisted are defined in your local appdate folder. By example: “C:\Users\Bjorn\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\iecompatdata.xml”. This file also contains information about websites and which compatibility mode should be used for each. The segment between <flash> and </flash> contains the websites that have been whitelisted for flash. You can manually modify this file as described here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1961793

Basic steps include:
  1. Modifying the iecompatdata.xml to add the websites you want to whitelist for Flash. Wildcards don’t work unfortunately.
  2. Open Internet Explorer 10 Desktop, press ALT, Tools, “Compatibility View setting”. Then Disable “Download updated compatibility lists from Microsoft”. This way Microsoft won’t overwrite the updates you’ve made in step 1.
  3. Delete the IE10 browser history. The disadvantage of this method however is, that you won’t be taking advantage of future compatibility updates because you’ve disabled the update functionality. Leaving it enabled however means that you you would have to keep re-adding sites you want to whitelist for Flash.

As a workaround, I’ve created this script that will automatically perform these tasks:

  1. Disable “Download updated compatibility lists from Microsoft”
  2. Close all internet explorer processes.
  3. Download the latest iecompatdata.xml to the appropriate folder. Currently the latest version is: https://iecvlist.microsoft.com/ie10/201206/iecompatviewlist.xml
    The script however will dynamically look for the latest versions by modifying the date in the url.
  4. Combine the data from the latest iecompatdata.xml with websites you want to whitelist for Flash (specified in “C:\Users\Bjorn\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\IECompatData\flashsitestoadd.txt).
  5. Backup the original iecompatdata.xml and store the modified iecompatdata.xml
  6. Clear the Internet Explorer browsing history.

Because automatic downloading of updated compatibility lists has been disabled, I advise to schedule the script to run on a regular basis (by example monthly). For instructions read this blog post: http://blogs.technet.com/b/heyscriptingguy/archive/2012/08/11/weekend-scripter-use-the-windows-task-scheduler-to-run-a-windows-powershell-script.aspx Keep in mind that this will clear your Internet Explorer browsing history though.

 

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