Adobe Stops Updating and Distributing Flash by the End 2020
By the end of 2020, Adobe’s Flash Player will be officially going into extinction.
This will be a piece of great news for IT security pros.
Adobe recently announced its plans to officially end the life of Flash Player; it will cease to update and distribute Flash at the end of 2020.
“Adobe has long played a leadership role in advancing interactivity and creative content – from video to games and more – on the web. Where we’ve seen a need to push content and interactivity forward, we’ve innovated to meet those needs. Where a format didn’t exist, we invented one – such as with Flash and Shockwave. And over time, as the web evolved, these new formats were adopted by the community, in some cases formed the basis for open standards, and became an essential part of the web.”
“As open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins [like Flash] pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web,” the company wrote. “Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins.”
The news will probably excite IT security pros considering the plugin’s vulnerability. In 2015, the plugin was deemed “the most frequently exploited product” by security firm Recorded Future, which said it provided “eight of the top 10 vulnerabilities leveraged by exploit kits.”
And yet, the plugin is still used by many websites to run videos, animations, and similar content.
Adobe, which ceased development of mobile versions of Flash in 2011 said it’s “committed to supporting Flash through 2020, as customers and partners put their migration plans into place.” Until then, the company plans to issue regular security patches, maintain operating system and browser compatibility and add new features and capabilities as needed.
Adobe added that it will work with partners like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla to “maintain the security and compatibility of Flash content.” Those companies have already started the transition away from the technology; their blog posts about the transition are linked above.
Apple started moving away from Flash on the Mac in 2010; it’s now off by default and requires explicit approval on each website before Flash will run.
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Adobe pledged to remain at “the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement. This includes continuing to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group. We’ll continue to provide best-in-class animation and video tools such as Animate CC, the premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content, and Premiere Pro CC.”
Adobe added that it plans to “move more aggressively” to kill Flash in “certain geographies where unlicensed and outdated versions” of the plugin are being distributed.