When it comes to security, it seems like Adobe has been playing a game of whack-a-mole. Any security solution it presents to its Flash browser plug-in, seems piecemeal or superficial, as it just a matter of time before hackers find a way around it.
No wonder most mainstream browsers are automatically turning off Flash and encouraging content creators to migrate to HTML5, WebAssembly, and WebGL formats. Adobe seems to have run out of option, rather ideas, to produce a foolproof security solution to its Flash player.
The company appears to be on the verge of quitting the business altogether and is already prepping content creators and users for its eventual shutdown. The company announced yesterday its plans to shut down Flash once and for all. In a press statement, Adobe says that come to the end of 2020, it will cease all development and distribution of Flash. The statement read in part as follows:
“But as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web. Over time, we’ve seen helper apps evolve to become plugins, and more recently, have seen many of these plugin capabilities get incorporated into open web standards. Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins.”
Implication of elimination of Flash to you as a user
The shutting down of Flash and Flash player should not heavily impact on you because most mainstream browsers already have moved away from this format. Take, for instance, macOS Sierra and Safari 10. By default, Apple disables Adobe Flash and in its place has HTML5. While as far as iOS platform goes, Apple has never made Flash available there.
Mid last year, Google Chrome browser started discouraging use of Flash Player. The fact that Chrome is the most popular browser out there, and it has been discouraging the use of Flash, means a lot of people have already gotten used to doing without Flash and Flash player.
Adobe Flash has historically suffered from critical vulnerabilities
Flash Player has for long been the target of hackers with their malware, viruses, and Trojans. For some reason, it has always been the first point of attack when they are targeting PC and Mac users. Forcing companies like Microsoft and Apple to be on a continuous tug of war versus hackers by giving our security fixes endlessly.
However, up to until 2020, Adobe will still be giving out support for Flash across all the major operating systems and browser. That entails giving out security updates, browser compatibility, maintaining OS and even introducing new features and capabilities “as needed.” And it will all be done on a regular basis.
Additionally, Adobe says it will be “more aggressive” in ending Flash distribution in countries where the software is being distributed without a license or in their outdated formats.