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Adobe Flash Will Stop Being A Thing In 2020

You'll soon be able to bid adieu to Flash. Adobe announced that it's going to stop updating the previously ubiquitous plugin, which is used in games, video players, and many other aspects of the web, at the end of 2020. That's good news for open standards--and for the security of countless people.

There was a time when basically every interactive element on a website relied on Flash. Open standards like HTML5 and WebGL have slowly but surely replaced Flash, however, especially on mobile devices. (Remember that late Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote a long note about why iOS devices didn't support Flash back in 2010.) Many websites use these standards for their interactive elements instead of relying on Adobe's proprietary tool.

But not everyone has abandoned Flash. W3Techs reports that the technology is still used in 6.3% of all websites, which is nothing to sneeze at. Aside from forcing people to install a plugin for content that could be presented using browser-supported standards like HTML5, this continued reliance on Flash also puts people at risk. The technology simply has too many vulnerabilities attackers can exploit to compromise their victims' devices.

That's why people like Facebook CSO Alex Stamos have called on Adobe to kill Flash since 2015. More recently, we criticized FedEx in January for encouraging its customers to enable Flash because doing so made them more vulnerable to attack, and Microsoft released critical security patches related to the technology in March. A relic of the web's early ages has caused significant problems for people living in the modern era.

Microsoft, Google, and other browser makers have partnered up to help web users transition from Flash. Their browsers will follow a similar timeline of asking you for permission to run Flash once every session in mid-to-late 2018; of disabling Flash by default in mid-to-late 2019; and of removing support for Flash entirely in mid-to-late 2020. By then, anyone using modern operating systems and browsers will no longer be able to use Flash.

Those efforts will culminate with Adobe ending Flash support and distribution by the end of 2020. The company plans to release security updates in the meantime, and you'll be able to install Flash if your favorite sites are slow to jump to alternative technologies, but it won't be long before Flash is completely gone. Adobe said this timeline could also be moved up in "certain geographies where unlicensed and outdated versions of Flash Player are being distributed." The result will be a safer web for all the people who are unaware of Flash's many, many different vulnerabilities.

  • JRHERITA
    Thank God.
    Reply
  • DookieDraws
    I hope auto-playing ads will stop being a thing as well. The sooner, the better. Hint! :)

    I haven't installed Flash on my pc in years. I guess Microsoft Edge browser has it already installed, but I do not use that.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    Reply
  • mwryder55
    Is there a "secure" app that will display Flash content? There is a lot of training videos, etc. out there that use Flash. I would prefer to use something other than Flash to display these interactive videos.
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    19981694 said:
    Is there a "secure" app that will display Flash content? There is a lot of training videos, etc. out there that use Flash. I would prefer to use something other than Flash to display these interactive videos.

    Not that I'm aware of, just use flash. The odds of training videos having a virus/malware is pretty small.
    Reply
  • Jake Hall
    Good. Trump and Flash can go out together
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    19981694 said:
    Is there a "secure" app that will display Flash content? There is a lot of training videos, etc. out there that use Flash. I would prefer to use something other than Flash to display these interactive videos.

    VLC player will play flash video if it is locally stored on your PC. The question though is how to get the video locally in the first place.
    Reply
  • ThisIsMe
    "Open standards like HTML5 and WebGL have slowly but surely replaced Flash, however, especially on mobile devices. (Remember that late Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote a long note about why iOS devices didn't support Flash back in 2010.) Many websites use these standards for their interactive elements instead of relying on Adobe's proprietary tool."

    You can't believe everything you hear a CEO say. The main driving force behind Apple not wanting flash on their mobile devices is because it would have created a pathway for competition to their own App Store. By blocking flash it affords them almost complete control over customer consumption on their devices. Google learned this the hard way, and eventually followed suit in order to make more money after initially using the whole "our devices run Flash!" selling point to get people to jump on board.

    Anyway, the flash run time is still going to be supported for years to come because it's what is used in Adobe Air. Just because it's not going to run as a plugin within a web browser doesn't mean it's just going away. Many desktop and mobile apps alike still run using Adobe Air and will probably continue to do so because of how easy it is to produce Flex applications. Simplicity and power make the programming combination of actionscript and mxml (ie Flex) fun to use and a go to solution for small apps and games. With Flex devs pretty much know what they are getting. With alternatives like HTML5 you have to deal with a hot mess of browser vendors/versions/performance/hardware/interfaces/support. And the security issues for Flash have never really been much worse than other comparable products. Honestly, most of these "Flash needs to die" articles read more like opinions than reports.
    Reply
  • DerekA_C
    With quantum servers and networks maintaining our internet in the future with their algorithms, no home PC could ever have the power to crack it. However, when quantum computers become PC's then it will start all over again. Unless by then AI controls everything and we wont be able to beat a life that lives within the very network we use.
    Reply
  • targetdrone
    Now to kill off Java!
    Reply