The fastest web browser on the Mac just got a little safer. With Chrome 23, Google has introduced a “sandboxed” version of the Adobe Flash plug-in, which helps prevent its use in exploits that could allow harmful code to be run without the user’s knowledge.
Computerworld reports that Google engineers rewrote the Flash plug-in to comply with its own PPAPI (Pepper Plugin Application Programming Interface) standard. It had previously used the older NPAPI (Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface) standard.
The OS X version of Chrome is actually the last to receive the PPAPI version of the Flash plug-in. It hit Windows platforms in Chrome 19 and Linux in Chrome 20. Chrome OS has had sandboxed Flash for more than a year.
Chrome is the only mainstream Mac browser that ships with its own independent instance of the Flash plugin. Firefox, Opera and Safari all use Adobe’s installable Flash Player, which can be updated and managed via System Preferences. Apple ceased bundling Flash Player on OS X back in 10.7 Lion, and starting with Safari 5.1.7 (released with OS X 10.7.4) the homegrown Apple browser will automatically disable Flash Player builds that are out-of-date or insecure.