Security Flaws in Adobe Flash Force its Shutdown on Firefox & Chrome

By Steve Anderson July 14, 2015

For anyone out there who's found that Flash doesn't work like it should on Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome browsers, there's a backhanded bit of good news afoot: it's not your system that's the problem. Rather, reports note, the problem is with Adobe Flash itself, a problem of sufficient magnitude that Mozilla and Firefox actually pulled support for the tool.

Reports, coming from leaked documents, suggest that Adobe Flash has a major flaw in its construction that could allow a hacker to seize control of a computer. That's a pretty major security flaw, but reports further suggest that, despite several attempts at patches and fixes, the problem is still sufficiently present to lead Mozilla and Google to pull support for Adobe Flash. While the Chrome version of Flash was more secure than its Firefox counterpart, even that extra security was insufficient to fend off hackers completely.

Adobe Flash was once the king of programming tools for multimedia operations; from video to games, Flash was king for quite some time. But with the rise of HTML5, a new breed of markup language, there's considerably less need to turn exclusively to Flash. HTML5 has also proven to be more secure as well, and that's led quite a few sites—including online video titan YouTube, which has been streaming HTML5 by default since late January according to reports—to turn to HTML5 instead.

Image via Shutterstock

The revelation of this new flaw came from a cyberattack on the government-sponsored group known as Hacking Team, which in turn reportedly caused the leak of several documents. Contained in the documents were reports that the group used at least three separate Flash exploits to take over computers. There's even some suggestion that the exploits in question have been live for as many as four years. Adobe, for its part, noted that it was "...actively working to improve Flash Player security," and would " to quickly address issues when they are discovered."

This hasn't proven enough for some, who are calling for the end of Adobe Flash in its entirety. Given that Apple hasn't had support for Flash since 2010, and support is looking shaky at best for Firefox and Chrome, that may well ultimately prove the case.

It is, admittedly, hard to justify keeping Flash around given the rise of HTML5. Perhaps the call for Flash's ultimate demise is the right idea. Computing must be secure; if computing is too big a risk, there will be fewer users, and the greatest value of the online experience is access to the largest body of people. Whether it's readers of text, viewers of images, or just consumers of products, the bigger the pool, the more valuable the experience.

Flash has served its purpose and helped get us where we are today. But where we are today is different from where we once were, and Flash's time has ended accordingly. It's time to put away Flash, and make HTML5 the new king of the ring.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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