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Downloading and deploying Adobe Flash Player

Over the weekend of January 24th, Adobe released Adobe Flash Player to fix a critical vulnerability. This update was available for installation via the Flash auto-update, but there was nothing available for a manual download. This lack of a separate download meant that Mac admins didn’t have a way to get an installer for distribution to the Macs in their environments.

Adobe has stated that a manual download will be available during the week of January 26, but for the moment, it appears that the auto-update mechanism is the only way Adobe is distributing this update.

Fortunately, thanks to research by Greg Neagle and Per Olofsson, there appears to be a way to leverage AutoPkg to generate the needed installer package. See below the jump for details.

Update 1-26-2015: A installer is now available on the Adobe Flash Player Distribution site (not linked because you gain access to the site after getting a valid Adobe Flash Player Distribution License Agreement in place.)

Update 2 – 1-26-2015: The AutoPkg download recipe for Adobe Flash has been updated to now download and decode the install_all_mac_pl_sgn.z file from Adobe’s Flash Player update feed for Macs. If you’re using AutoPkg, update your repos and you should get the changes. For more information on the actual recipe changes, see here.


Adobe’s desktop auto-updater is downloading the following file:


The install_all_mac_pl_sgn.z file is an ASN.1-encoded file, which can be downloaded via a web browser or by using curl:

curl http://fpdownload2.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/update/current/install/install_all_mac_pl_sgn.z > /path/to/install_all_mac_pl_sgn.z

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 7.45.38 AM

Once downloaded, it needs to be converted to a readable disk image file using the security command:

security cms -D -i /path/to/install_all_mac_pl_sgn.z > /path/to/install_all_mac_pl.dmg

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 7.47.50 AM

Once the disk image file is available, it can be used as a source by AutoPkg recipes. This option is available via the -p or –pkg option for AutoPkg’s run function.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 7.36.26 AM

To create an Adobe Flash Player installer package, run the following command:

autopkg run AdobeFlashPlayer.pkg -p /path/to/install_all_mac_pl.dmg

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 7.49.26 AM

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 7.50.35 AM

You should also be able to substitute other AdobeFlashPlayer recipes as well. Greg was able to add Adobe Flash Player to his Munki repo with the AdobeFlashPlayer.munki recipe and I verified that I could upload Adobe Flash Player to my Casper server:

autopkg run AdobeFlashPlayer.jss -p /path/to/install_all_mac_pl.dmg
  1. January 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm
  2. January 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    martinsun: That’s a recent development. Adobe’s update feed was advertising the new version on Saturday, but the manual download locations (like the one you point to) had not yet been updated.

  3. January 26, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    GregN: I’m sure you’re right, I wasn’t checking this weekend – great work from you and Per as per usual! Still, Adobe doesn’t seem to have updated it on the standard download page as of this writing. Typical…
    Also, Secunia (for Windows) still hasn’t added it either.

  4. Peter Trondsen
    February 3, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    If you download the installer from Macupdate.com, there is already a Package that can be used to push to clients, so you don’t have to go through the above procedure. If you right click on the installer, and Show Package Contents, just copy the entire “Resources” folder out of the installer. Inside the Resources folder is an Adobe Flash Player.pkg which you can push using ARD or Casper. The trick is that you have to keep the package with the resources folder, if you remove it, it won’t work.

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