Adobe Systems is promising to deliver a patch by Thursday that will resolve an exploit in its Flash Player software for Web browsers that causes the plug-in to crash and give hackers access and control of infected PCs.

Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE) officials said in a security advisory that the affected software versions are, 9.0.262 and earlier versions of the Flash plug-in.

When it ships later this week, the patch for Flash Player will support Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. The company will also release updates to resolve similar security issues for Adobe Reader and Acrobat by June 29, it said.

So far, company officials haven't yet quantified just how many PCs have been compromised in this latest Flash breach, but they have classified the exploit as "critical."

Adobe did say that the upcoming security fixes will mean a change for those awaiting the company's next monthly update for the applications.

"Please note that the Acrobat and Reader update represents an accelerated release of the next quarterly security update originally scheduled for July 13," Adobe said in a follow-up advisory. "With this accelerated scheduled, we do not plan to release any new updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat on July 13, 2010."

Latest Adobe security vulnerability

Adobe's ubiquitous Acrobat, Reader and Flash technologies have long been a popular target for malware syndicates looking to spread spam and other data-compromising applications.

After racing to resolve a massive zero-day vulnerability that helped hackers infiltrate a number of top-tier corporate networks last year, Adobe rolled out a new update service to push security advisories and updates to consumers and businesses on a scheduled basis, similarly to Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday updates.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.