What Adobe’s Decision to Phase Out Flash Player Means for Online Security

Citing detailed conversations with the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft and others, Adobe announced that it would stop supporting Flash Player by the end of this decade.

In a detailed blog post, the company made no mention of the many attempts cybercriminals have made to inject malware and other attacks through its technology. Instead, Adobe cited the rise of open standards such as HTML5 and WebGL, which provide similar functionality to watch videos online and conduct other web-based activities.

Emerging Standards Make Way for Change

Adobe’s decision to discontinue its Flash Player has the world’s largest technology companies looking at alternatives to help consumers enjoy multimedia content.

SecurityWeek provided a roundup of all the various transition plans browser vendors and other firms are putting in place as Flash Player inches closer to its 2020 expiration date. This includes Microsoft, which will remove Flash from its Internet Explorer and Edge browsers the year before. Mozilla will do the same with Firefox. While Apple hasn’t been supporting Flash for the past seven years, other multimedia-rich platforms such as Facebook will most likely move quickly toward HTML5.

Patchy Flash Player Support

Security issues around Flash Player have included phishing schemes, zero-day attacks and backdoor programs. Of course, cybercriminals still have plenty of time to take advantage of Flash vulnerabilities, but Fortune reported that Adobe will offer security patches to make the technology safer between now and the end of 2020.

Wired suggested that security woes weren’t the only thing that spelled the end for Flash Player. Any major technology relies on support from developers who use it in their programs, and many have been shifting to alternatives that are less proprietary and better suited to the touch-screen operations of mobile devices.

There are exceptions, though. Gizmodo reported on one developer who started a petition to influence Adobe to release Flash Player as an open source project so others can fix its various bugs and ensure continued access to certain websites and games. If Adobe listens, the future of Flash could take a very interesting turn.

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Shane Schick

Writer & Editor

Shane Schick is a writer, editor and speaker who focuses on how information technology creates business value. He lives...