Time to Unplug Adobe Flash

By: Elizabeth Bookspan

Today, Blacktip decided to join the crusade to kill Adobe Flash Player. As an IT services / Managed Services Provider specializing on the Apple platform, we remember the sage words of Steve Jobs in his open letter extolling the justifications to prevent Adobe’s product on the iPhone. Internet communities are getting serious about spreading the word – Occupy Flash!

Bluntly – We agree and believe that Adobe’s Flash should be removed from the web. Period.

Blacktip goes to great lengths to ensure each client’s networks are secure and that their technology is optimized. We spend time per day searching the internet and we want to do it as quickly and as securely as possible.

If you are aren’t on top of your business computer security, yet, a hacker will surely make you a believer. Read up on ransomware attacks that will take your system down for a few days. The mass distribution of of this Player makes it an easy target for hackers.

“The Flash Player is a very interesting target for attackers because it really is ubiquitous and runs in all major browsers,” says Jérôme Segura, senior security researcher at Malwarebytes. “On top of zero-days, many end users are still running older versions which explains why the number one piece of software exploit kit writers go after is Flash,” (Wired Magazine).

Attackers scare users into “updating” their Flash Player only to then deliver malicious downloads. All the security software and hardware in the world can’t beat out uninformed users.

Ok, so Flash is insecure, we get it. Flash is also a resource hog sucking battery power and CPU performance from your computer. In August of 2015, PC World conducted a thorough test of Flash with plugins installed on Chrome 44, Windows 10’s Edge Browser, Firefox 39, Internet Explorer 11 and Opera 31.

Adobe Flash performance chart

As you can see from the chart, PC World found that the product placed a 61% load on CPU consumption using Microsoft Edge, using Opera, it required 81% of CPU, and Chrome consumed 71.4% of CPU. Yikes!

Google announced in February 2016 that “starting June 30th, 2016, display ads built in Flash can no longer be uploaded into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing. Starting January 2nd, 2017, display ads in the Flash format can no longer run on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick.”

Chrome now contains a feature that halts “content not central to the webpage” preserving CPU, but giving the user the ability to play the Flash video if desired. Microsoft’s Windows 10 will include a similar feature when an update is released this summer. Neither of these features won’t affect video content that is part of a web site.

“Users experience improved battery life when sites use efficient web standards, lowering both memory and CPU demands…We will continue to work within the W3C to ensure standards unblock all developers to fully transition away from Flash,” Microsoft

Join Blacktip in the crusade to wish Adobe’s poorly coded Player a fond farewell, secure your environment and make your computer faster.

If you need help, give us a call and we’ll help you define the right security strategy for your business, which of course will include removing this security hole. 🙂

Go ahead, do the right thing and either uninstall or disable the Player on your computer. Adobe provides instructions on how to remove it here.

And, because we care…

Instructions for disabling the Player

Chrome:

  1. Click the search bar.
  2. Type chrome://plugins.
  3. Disable Adobe Flash Player.

Safari:

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences.
  2. Click Security.
  3. Click Plug In Settings to the right of Internet Plugins.
  4. Uncheck Adobe Flash Player. 

Firefox:

  1. Click the menu button, followed by Add-ons.
  2. Click the Plugins panel and select Options next to Shockwave Flash.
  3. Remove the checkmark next to Enable Adobe Flash protected mode.
  4. Click the menu button and then click Exit to close Firefox completely, so that the change can take effect.

Internet Explorer:

Click the Internet Explorer icon on the Taskbar or in your Start Menu.

  1. Tap or click the Tools button , and then tap or click Manage add-ons.
  2. Under Show, tap or click All add-ons, and then select the add-on you want to turn off.
  3. Tap or click Disable, and then tap or click Close.