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MOST people know that computers can catch viruses from dodgy incoming email messages, but did you know you could catch them from harmless-looking web pages too? The Flash Player technology that your web browser uses to display videos on YouTube is just like any other internet technology, and needs to be kept up-to-date to make sure it's as secure as possible.

Graham Cluley, a consultant at computer security firm Sophos (, has made it his business to make sure that people understand security risks like this - and what they can do to avoid getting caught out.

It wouldn't be that hard for bad guys to inject malicious computer code into Flash content on an apparently very ordinary web page. It might not even look very Flash-like. (Just because Flash is used for most web video these days, it doesn't mean that all Flash is videos. Sometimes it's used simply to display text.) That dodgy code could do all sorts of damage -including installing and running other programs on your PC - without you even noticing it was there.

That's why Cluley, and Adobe, the makers of Flash Player, are trying to make people aware of the hazards.

The best way to stay safe is to stay updated. You can check your Flash Player status easily: search Google for "Adobe Flash version check" and you'll find the right page. If your Flash software isn't up-to-date, download the latest version from and get it installed. It's better to be safe than sorry.

PATHETIC MOTORWAYS OF THE UK You don't often think of a motorway as "pathetic", but the Pathetic Motorways website has a long list of major roads that it considers qualify as such in one way or another. They're the roads that never got built, or got built but not in the way they should have been, or got built wrong. And there's a surprising number of them. This amusing, entertaining and informative website is full of wisecracks and sarcastic swipes at transport planners, and it's bound to be of interest to anyone who drives on British motorways. Start your journey at

BROWSING AROUND... SCIENCE AND LEARNING Ben Goldacre condemns Bad Science Crazy science projects you can try at home The future that never was So what do YOU think? Join the debate on our Forums at ...
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2009
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