Amazon to Disable Flash Player in Hosted Ads

August 25, 2015 @ 10:32 AM
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2 min read

Amazon may be the latest high-profile firm to distance itself from Adobe’s Flash Player, but ongoing security concerns may have CISOs and their teams at all sorts of organizations wondering about the best way to protect themselves.

As SecurityWeek reported, Amazon recently said it would no longer accept ads for its widely used e-commerce site that use Flash Player. That’s because, after a myriad of security issues and emergency patches from Adobe, the product is getting an increasingly poor reputation as an attack vector for cybercriminals. Apple, Mozilla and Google have already made similar moves away from the player in the past few months. The new Amazon policy will take effect Sept. 1.

To give a sense of how bad this situation has gotten, Computerworld recently tallied all the fixes Adobe has put out for Flash Player this year and suggested it averages out to almost one per business day each week. As the article pointed out, however, removing the product isn’t possible in some browsers, including Google Chrome. Instead, the best bet may be disabling it via the plugin settings of the browser or by choosing the click-to-play option so it only runs when users feel confident.

Similarly, ZDNet has produced a detailed slideshow that guides computer users in disabling Flash Player across Internet Explorer 11 (by visiting the Toolbars and Extensions area, for example), Firefox (go to Add-Ons near the top right-hand corner of the browser) and so on. There are also uninstallers for both Windows and Mac available.

Beyond disabling or uninstalling, the security problems may be helped by a long-term move away from running ads in Flash Player to a different standard. Advertising Age showed how industry groups such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau are starting to urge their members to think about HTML5 as a way of delivering digital content. That doesn’t concern Adobe, which also uses HTML5 in many of its products already.

The other piece of advice is for organizations to do a self-assessment and determine their risk by looking at the volume of multimedia they deliver via Flash today. As Gizmodo pointed out, sectors like education tend to be heavy users, but there are probably other industries that should also think about whether Adobe’s technology should be part of their digital future.

Shane Schick
Writer & Editor
Shane Schick is a contributor for SecurityIntelligence.