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"New Helper Tool"

New Here ,
Sep 11, 2018 Sep 11, 2018

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Every time I am forced to update Flash Player I am asked by Adobe for my administrator username and password so Adobe can install "a new helper tool."

Not just because I have never been a fan of Adobe, with each update I become increasingly irritated by this demand. If I want to update my Flash player, I must provide this information or the installation will quit.

I have a few problems with this approach:

  1. don't give me some vague language about "a new helper tool,"
  2. give me the option of not adding the helper tool if I don't want it while still allowing the installation to continue, which brings me to the most important point:
  3. TELL ME SPECIFICALLY WHAT THE DARN "HELPER TOOL" IS.

How can I decide if I want this update enough to include some undescribed, nondisclosed "helper tool" if Adobe refuses to tell me what the "helper tool" is? Maybe I don't want the "helper tool" enough to warrant updating Flash player. Shouldn't that choice be mine? How can I make an educated decision if I don't know what it is?

This is typical Adobe. Every time I am forced to deal with an Adobe product something about it displeases me, a problem I've never had with any other software developer.

So, Adobe, what is this phantom "helper tool" and why do you refuse to say what it is when you insist people download it?

Thank you.

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Most Valuable Participant , Jan 28, 2019 Jan 28, 2019
The Flash Player installer requires root, and the "helper tool" dialog is a consequence of asking the kernel for an escalation of privileges. The username and password being prompted for are for your local root account, and are being asked for by your computer. Adobe has nothing to do with it and never sees what you type in.See https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/Security/Conceptual/SecureCodingGuide/Articles/AccessControl.html

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 11, 2018 Sep 11, 2018

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'Helper Tool' is terminology baked into the Apple API (Application Programming Interface) that is used by the installer.  There's nothing additional being installed.  Since it's baked in terminology, it can't be changed (we tried).

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 11, 2019 Jan 11, 2019

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This sounds wrong. If the terminology is "baked in" why does it never show up with any applications that use the Installer other than Adobe applications?

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 12, 2019 Jan 12, 2019

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Perhaps because Flash *is* a helper tool for browsers...

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 14, 2019 Jan 14, 2019

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It depends on the APIs the software is using.  I have seen it in other software as well.

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New Here ,
Oct 15, 2018 Oct 15, 2018

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please help, anyone!!!! I'm having a nervous breakdown!!!! What is this helper tool!! Been seeing it ever since I updated to MacOS 10.14 I have been seeing this

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 15, 2018 Oct 15, 2018

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The Helper Tool terminology is not new to macOS 10.14.  My reply to OP is still applicable.

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New Here ,
Jan 28, 2019 Jan 28, 2019

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You're not going to get any help from these people. Especially the "staff". If really Staff...wouldnt they KNOW what API is being called? Cant they FIND someone who knows and provide a real answer? This IS new to MacOS especially new MacOS users. I've been dealing with Adobe since the Photoshop 2 days so have a longer history than some of you have been alive. NEVER have I ever seen this bogus stuff even from Adobe. I launched the Flash Player installer...immediately prompted to install a "helper". If your mental giants that create the installer would just install Flash Player and CALL it that after I enter my PW without calling it something different, this crap wouldn't happen.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 28, 2019 Jan 28, 2019

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The Flash Player installer requires root, and the "helper tool" dialog is a consequence of asking the kernel for an escalation of privileges. The username and password being prompted for are for your local root account, and are being asked for by your computer. Adobe has nothing to do with it and never sees what you type in.

See https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/Security/Conceptual/SecureCodingGuide/Arti...

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 30, 2019 Jan 30, 2019

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Yep, exactly this.  Flash Player isn't like a typical desktop application that would get installed in the Applications folder.  We have to install the browser plug-in in shared system locations, and it makes sense to tighten access around those locations.

I imagine that we need elevated privileges to install the plug-in in that system location, and to install and run our auto-update service.  These prompts are recent additions to MacOS, and I don't believe that we can avoid them.  Traditional desktop applications in 2018 would simply publish their applications through the app store and let it handle the update logic, so it makes sense that these mechanisms would get locked down as the number of legitimate uses for them dwindles.

If you enable automatic updates after you install, you'll get the helper prompt once, and then the automatic update service will keep Flash updated, and you'll never get the prompt again.

If you choose to manage Flash installations manually (which is what I imagine you're doing, since this is happening enough that you're annoyed about it) then you'll get the prompt from MacOS every time you run the installer.

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New Here ,
Feb 12, 2019 Feb 12, 2019

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Hi,

Okay, so this Helper Tool is okay?  I didn't allow the Helper Tool to install and I've spent the last 2 hours trying to find out if my Mac has a bad Flash Player.  The crazy thing was that immediately after the Flash Player updated, I got notifications that my Word and Excel were just updated.  I was like, crap, I've got problems.  Turns out there was a MS Office 2016 update at about the exact same time (it took me a half hour to find that on MS website).

I guess I can throw away all these screen shots of information concerning this.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 13, 2019 Feb 13, 2019

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Space-Buckaroo  wrote

Hi,

Okay, so this Helper Tool is okay? 

Provided you got the Flash Player installer/updater from the official Adobe.com website then yes, it's OK.

The phrasing of the MacOS prompt is misleading; the "Helper Tool" is not some separate application, it is just a stage in the install process where Adobe's code asks the operating system if it can write to a folder that is usually off-limits. What it should probably be saying is "Adobe Flash Player Installer is asking for high-level permissions, is that OK?" - but for some reason Apple don't bother to work out the name of the software that triggers the question in the first place.

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New Here ,
Feb 13, 2019 Feb 13, 2019

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I got the Flash from this site:  https: //get3.adobe.com/flashplayer/update/osx/  (I had to include a space between the : and // to be able to type in the URL)

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 13, 2019 Feb 13, 2019

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Yep.  You're fine.  It came from us.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 14, 2019 Feb 14, 2019

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HOLA.....si eslo que ocurre....no secompletan los trespasos para la descarga....hay algo que lo impide de la misma página...con su respuesta tan clara, intentaré nuevamente hasta lograrlo. Pero sin la ayuda de Uds....esmuy difícil....gracias muy correcto.

Slds..................................

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 14, 2019 Feb 14, 2019

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Hi Graciela Susana Bonofini

It's obvious you're having problems viewing Flash content on a web site, but you have failed to provide the information we have requested at issues with Flash Player and continue to post to unrelated topics.  Please go to issues with Flash Player and provide the following information:

  • operating system
  • browser
  • the link to the page you are having problems with
    • this is important so that we can try to reproduce the behaviour you are experiencing

Once you provide this information, we can investigate further.  Alternatively, go to https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player.html for instructions to enable Flash on the supported browsers.

Continuing to post on unrelated topics is not going to help - we need the requested information to investigate the issue.

----- Google Translate -----

Es obvio que tiene problemas para ver el contenido de Flash en un sitio web, pero no ha proporcionado la información que solicitamos en issues with Flash Player y continúa publicando en temas no relacionados. Por favor, vaya a issues with Flash Player y proporcione la siguiente información:

  • sistema operativo
  • navegador
  • El enlace a la página con la que está teniendo problemas.
    • Esto es importante para que podamos intentar reproducir el comportamiento que está experimentando.

Una vez que proporcione esta información, podemos investigar más a fondo. Alternativamente, vaya a https://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player.html para obtener instrucciones sobre cómo habilitar Flash en los navegadores compatibles.

Continuar publicando sobre temas no relacionados no ayudará, necesitamos la información solicitada para investigar el problema.

Gracias.

<locking post as the thread has been marked 'correct'>

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 13, 2019 Feb 13, 2019

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If you didn't allow the helper tool to install, you stopped Flash installing or updating properly, so go round again.

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