What it is: Flash is notorious for draining power from mobile devices and opening flaws to allow malware and hackers into a computer.
At one time, Flash was the dominant animation standard for the World Wide Web. Adobe even acquired a rival company called Macromedia just so they could own Flash. Then Apple introduced the iPhone and banned Flash because Flash didn’t work properly on touch screen devices. While Flash would allow you to view Flash animation on a touch screen, early versions of Flash didn’t let you control anything on screen using touch gestures.
That was the main reason why Apple banned Flash from the iPhone because Flash simply didn’t work. Adobe quickly modified Flash to detect touch gestures, but Flash’s fatal flaw was that it required constant processing to display the animation, which meant draining the battery of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Even if you accepted this power drain from Flash, Flash still didn’t work smoothly with touch gestures and touch screens.
For years, Android device manufacturers embarrassed themselves by promoting Flash support as a feature, conveniently neglecting to tell potential customers that Flash on Android didn’t work that well either. Eventually, even Adobe abandoned Flash on mobile devices.
Yet on computers, Flash still lingers because many web sites still use Flash. Yet Flash opens numerous flaws in any computer, making it a rich target for malware and hackers to use for accessing a computer. As a general rule, Flash is the worst security vulnerability you can deliberately install on any computer.
That’s why Adobe constantly updates Flash to close known security flaws. Unfortunately, such updates often create more security flaws while closing other ones. Flash is simply one of the most insecure plug-ins you can use on any computer. Yet because Flash is still required for many web sites, many people still use Flash.
It’s bad enough to use Flash, but it’s even worse when malicious web sites try to trick you into installing bogus Flash updates that actually disguise malware. One of the latest malware specifically targeting Macintosh computers tries to fool people into installing a Flash update that’s actually malware in disguise.
The safest way to protect any computer from Flash is to avoid installing Flash altogether. If you absolutely must use Flash, consider installing a second browser and only accessing Flash sites through that other browser. Then make sure you only update Flash by visiting the official Adobe Flash site to download the latest security updates to Flash.
The safest way to protect your computer is to avoid Flash altogether. Flash is insecure and unnecessary. If possible, avoid web sites that require Flash. If you can’t do that, be very cautious about any warning urging you to install a Flash update and always download Flash updates only from Adobe’s web site.
Flash is completely obsolete and needs to disappear today. Until that time comes, expect more malware to disguise themselves as Flash updates to trick people into installing them. The more people abandon Flash completely, the safer every computer will be on the Internet.