Flash is in everything. Wikipedia lists vector and rastor graphics, animation, browser games, rich internet – desktop – mobile applications, and mobile games. It started out as SmartSketch before becoming FutureSplash Animator, then Flash, with side names ShockWave Flash, ScaleForm GFx, Adobe Flash Lite and Adobe Air depending on which application or machine the software was aimed.
Ever since there’s been a Flash program, hackers have exploited the integral nature of its job to get into your PC, Tablet, or phone. Website CVE Details lists 545 known flash exploits, but the most recent hack – based on pilfered Adobe source code – is most devastating with no workaround possible. Until now, hackers had repeatedly gained remote machine access until a new software patch was found. Now they are unstoppable. The Ashley Madison hack, based on intimitate knowledge of otherwise secret machine instructions, gives cyber criminals keys to the front door.
Slim shock that Google announced as of September 1, 2015, Chrome no longer supports flash. Firefox creator Mozilla ended use of the program in July as did Facebook. Steve Jobs was famously suspicious, with Apple cutting ties to mobile flash in 2010. Today’s Google move vindicated Jobs rather public stance against the Adobe software amid controversy of the day.
If you are hacked, a stranger gains unchecked access to your passwords and computer. The nasty black hats go straight for your bank account, credit card info, personal data to open new accounts…well you get it. They steal from you, while seeming to be you. In the case of Ashley Madison, thieves gained top level server control to see private customer data.
So, where does that leave us? Now ubiquitous HTML5 provides a route to regain functionality lost in Flash’s demise. The move, however, requires some ground up coding to conform existing sites, and Flash Developers often need to establish a completely new software toolkit to accomplish tasks once handled by the Adobe program.
For the technically challenged among us, Flash’s demise means better security, though hackers are only beaten temporarily. Learning to create good passwords and changing them from time to time will go a long way toward keeping your personal cyber world safe. Safe, that is, so you can giggle at horny office workers caught seeking mostly fictional cheating beauties in the Ashley Madison hack. Thievery with a little fraud and adultery thrown in. You can’t make this stuff up.