Adobe Flash began as a piece of animation software way back when we still used dial-up internet. It evolved and in many ways shaped the web as we know it today. Online advertising was reliant on Adobe Flash and so were online games – Adobe Flash was in many ways the backbone to the animated web. Unfortunately for Adobe Flash, the end of this software is nigh – or at least it should be. In 2015, Adobe Flash was reportedly the most exploited product; in 2016 out of the top 10 vulnerabilities incorporated by exploit kits affected Adobe Flash Player, with the latest one impacting Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, allowing threat actors to take control of the affected system.
All these vulnerabilities have made consumers, enterprises and even browses to take a stand against Adobe Flash. At this point in time, Internet Explorer is the only widely used browser that still runs Flash-powered animations and video out of the box. Browsers and web developers have been transitioning to HTML5.
With such a high number of security breaches and vulnerabilities it really is no surprise that enterprises and organizations no longer want to use Adobe Flash. After all, using the software that has come with bugs time after time will realistically only lead to a security breach. But even if Adobe Flash isn’t being used, if it is still installed on any devices that are connected to the network, the network is still at threat.
Each and every device within an organization needs to remove and disable Flash. Within the Program & Features menu on a PC, search for Adobe Flash and double click to open the uninstall dialog. Google Chrome no longer comes with Adobe Flash, however for safety’s sake be sure to check if your version of Chrome still runs Adobe Flash. In the Chrome address bar type chrome://plugins and then click ‘Disable’ under Adobe Flash Player.
There are websites as well that you can use to check what is installed on your browser. WhatIsInMyBrowser.com for example, runs thorough checks to see if your web browser is up to date, if Cookies are enabled and if Adobe Flash is installed. This should be tested on all browsers that are used on every device that is connected to the network, and only when Flash has been completely uninstalled from the desktop and the browser, should use go back to normal.
Users will find that most websites that they access no longer use Adobe Flash anyway, as web developers have been implementing HTML5 as a more secure alternatives for animations on browser.If businesses are concerned about not using Adobe Flash anymore in relation to online animations, users should simply test to see how much of the web they can still use without Adobe Flash. Several years ago this may have been slightly distressing as sites like YouTube and Netflix (not that these should be used during work hours!) still used Flash as the go to plug-in. Now though, as HTML5 has improved, web browsers have embraced it as standard, making it easier than ever for people to leave Flash behind.
Disabling Adobe Flash has also shown that systems run faster and have a more efficient battery life, as websites are no longer bogged down by Flash-based advertisements. This was first seen back in 2010 in Steve Jobs Open Letter about why Flash was not implemented in iPads, iPhones and iPods – he just didn’t want these devices to be ‘bogged down’ by Flash. Android followed in Apple’s footsteps in 2012. Flash may have been ubiquitous on desktop 10 years ago, maybe even 5 years ago, but it’s not anymore. Chances are, you won’t even notice it’s gone.