Flash Is Dead. - Cybersecurity & Data Management

Flash Is Dead.

As 2020 closed, so did the era of Adobe’s Flash. Adobe will no longer support Flash and has advised its users to uninstall the software entirely. Some say good riddance as Flash had many issues including bugs and security vulnerabilities. Others are concerned about what will happen to the millions of websites that still rely on Flash. Whichever side you are on, it really doesn’t matter as we are all in the same boat, Flash is no more.

The Golden Years

During Flash’s golden age, it had the responsibility of running a lot of the internet.  With the growth of Flash’s popularity, it also became a target for hackers. In terms of security risk, it quickly ranked among browser plugins like ActiveX and Java. In 2017, Adobe finally decided they couldn’t fix Flash so they announced Flash’s end of life (EOL).  

Here’s the official EOL announcement from Adobe back in 2020:   

Adobe will not issue Flash Player updates or security patches after the EOL Date. We recommend that all users uninstall Flash Player before the EOL date (see manual uninstall instructions for Windows and Mac users). Users will be prompted by Adobe to uninstall Flash Player on their machines later this year and Flash-based content will be blocked from running in Adobe Flash Player after the EOL Date.

Flash is Out, Why are you surprised?

It doesn’t come as too big of a surprise that Flash is now no more. Steve Jobs hated Flash so much he banned its use on some Apple devices. Jobs felt like Flash was cumbersome to use on a touch screen, unreliable, a security threat, and a drain on battery life. Furthermore, Flash didn’t update right away with smartphone technology. By the time it did get updated, the smartphone world had moved on to better technologies like HTML5.  About 80% of Google Chrome users in 2014 visited a site with flash.  That number dropped to just 17% by 2017.

Doomed Websites

According to rough estimates, there will be millions of sites still running Flash.  However, Adobe has created some tools that help web developers migrate their Flash content to HTML5 or other web technologies.  Also, BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint offers a “web game preservation project” to help archive tens of thousands of Flash-based browser games.  This project disseminates its own, open-source and “secure” player software, allowing Flash cronies to access their games despite the shutdown.  

How to Uninstall Flash

 Protect your system by uninstalling Flash.  Adobe has posted uninstall instructions for both Windows and Mac users. Here’s how it works:

  • Download an uninstaller application for Flash Player.  Make sure to choose the Adobe uninstaller. (There is a different one for each operating system; and if you’re on Mac, pay attention to which OS version you’re using.)
  • Run the uninstaller. (On Windows, you’ll first need to close out all browsers and programs that use Flash. On iOS, you’ll do that as part of the process.)
  • Then, you can verify that the uninstallation was successful by restarting your computer and then checking the status of Flash Player on your computer from the Adobe website.