Firefox Enabled The Adobe Flash Plugin Again, But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe

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Firefox Has Stopped Blocking Flash, But That Doesn’t Mean Flash Is Safe
To bring any latecomers up to speed about why I’ve long taken the position that the Adobe Flash browser plugin is not safe and needs to die:

Why Can’t I Play Flash Games & Videos On My Thingie? (8/6/13)

Stop Complaining That Your Mobile Thingie Doesn’t Support Flash – You Should Be GLAD That It Doesn’t! (10/14/14)

Want To Get The FBI / Moneypak Virus? Download Flash! (12/10/14)

Mozilla was clearly in total agreement with me about Flash when it completely blocked the plugin in the latest release of the Firefox browser, as reported in this 7/14/15 article on NextWeb.

However, the news comes today that Adobe quickly moved to patch the specific security holes called out by Mozilla, and the Flash plugin is now available in Firefox once again. Even so, two of the very same articles that announce this development (on Business Insider and Wired, two very trusted and influential tech news sources) also openly state tech community and developer support for the Flash plugin needs to be pulled across the board: Flash needs to die.

 

But Why?
Look how much bad press and pushback it took for Adobe to finally close two major Flash security holes they’ve known about for over a year.

Adobe could’ve taken the threat to users of its Flash plugin seriously and done something about it way back in the first quarter of last year, when Microsoft first started releasing news about the Flash plugin “zero day” vulnerability.

But Adobe didn’t take any significant action until this week, when the news came out that the massive Hacking Team leak was the result of an Adobe Flash vulnerability and Firefox started blocking the plugin.

In other words, Adobe apparently couldn’t be bothered to do anything about the countless hacks and phishing attacks on mere consumers that have occurred since these vulnerabilities first came to light, but once their product was tied to a major hacking scandal and was openly called out by Mozilla as too dangerous to allow in the Firefox browser, Adobe was suddenly motivated to act very quickly; Adobe was suddenly able to fix the problems they spent the last year ignoring in a matter of two business days.

But who knows how many more security holes are still lurking in the Flash plugin? Adobe has a long and infuriating history of sitting idly by while hackers exploit its Flash plugin over and over again. I wouldn’t doubt Adobe engineers are already aware of other security holes in its Flash plugin, and Adobe simply doesn’t want to invest the necessary time, money and resources to fix Flash once and for all. Adobe hasn’t officially supported Flash since 2012, though they have released the token security patch here and there—only under duress. Truly fixing Flash would probably require a complete tear-down and rewrite of the program, so Adobe’s not gonna do it until or unless they’re forced.

 

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by Adobe’s recent patch of the Flash plugin. In my opinion, it’s no less dangerous and no less a target for hackers than it’s always been.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Comment by JJ:

    What about Chrome? The flash player is integrated into Chrome so that every time there is an update to Flash player, Chrome updates. I use both Chrome and Adobe Flash everyday. It’s the only thing the player uses in a karaoke site that I use every day. Two days ago, the player would randomly freeze when I’d press play for listening or recording when I wanted to record a song. Rebooting will make it work again. It could work for hours or freeze again after only a few songs of recording or listening to others’ songs.The support staff said that they are having no issues with anyone else….none that are reported anyway. The staff there are excellent and act quickly to resolve issues, but they are saying they believe it’s because something I have running is sucking resources. I have 8 Gigs of RAM and I have everything I know that is not necessary to run in the background turned off. Any ideas? Can my problems be related to something wrong with Adobe Flash is it only an issue in Firefox?

    • Comment by Mom:

      Sorry, but I can’t help you debug problems with a plugin that I haven’t used, and have urged others not to use, since 2012. It’s not safe, as you can see for yourself it’s buggy, and I can only reiterate that you should disable it. Think about it: if you end up hacked, will it have been worth your continued use of the karaoke site?