This has undoubtedly been a familiar line for quite some time now: Adobe has – again – released security updates for their Flash Player addressing critical vulnerabilities that could enable attackers to gain control of an affected system. Adobe released a security bulletin on April 11, 2017, informing users that seven vulnerabilities have been patched up. Regular updates aren’t surprising when it comes to software but the constant need for Adobe Flash Player to be fixed of security flaws doesn’t inspire confidence.
The latest security bulletin listed seven vulnerabilities and all of them, if not addressed, lead to code execution. Four were user-after-free vulnerabilities while the other three were memory corruption vulnerabilities. The flaws were reported by teams working on Google Project Zero and Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative.
Patching up problems has sadly been the order of business for Adobe for its Flash Player, but despite the numerous calls for its existence to cease, the company still continues to invest in it. Even the website of big-name companies still relies on Flash for content delivery. This is the case despite the numerous times Adobe has needed to fix security issues.
But not only is Flash Player a security vulnerability on all major platforms, it’s quite greedy when it comes to resources as well. This is an issue because makers are trying to create devices that are not only thinner but have a long battery life.
Given these issues, it begs the question: why does Flash still exist? Truth be told, it’s harder for larger websites to quickly move to a newer and more stable technology. HTML5 may be gaining ground as the alternative of choice but some sites and services still need a bit of time to build new tools.
HTML5 has been available for a long time, why didn’t they start migrating then? That’s a completely valid question but HTML5 back then was an emerging technology. Even if big-name companies wanted to make the shift, there would still be limitations, unlike Flash which has been proven to work across platforms for years.
Decline and Slow Fall
Now that Chrome has officially disabled Flash and other big names like YouTube can play videos without the need for Flash, is it about time to finally say goodbye? Not quite. However, the good news is on the horizon for the Occupy Flash movement: there has been a decline in the number of websites reliant on Flash. W3Techs, a web technology metrics firm, revealed that Flash usage on all websites is declining by a percent every six months.
Adobe Flash Player was, without question, one of the best things to hit the internet. It allowed people to enjoy silly videos and other kinds of fun content, but its time has now long passed. Adobe itself has openly admitted that HTML5 is the future, and former Flash Player clients are also making the move. But until all websites take the leap and migrate to HTML5, Flash will still continue to exist. Then again, this would take a while because change is never easy.