Just recently Adobe released another patch for their infamous Flash software, patching a zero day bug as well as other flaws that had already been exploited by malicious hackers. Flash is notorious for being one of the biggest security “holes” in internet browsers today. However, many people are a bit reluctant to remove it. Every once in a while a page will load that absolutely needs Flash in order for the user to view the content. For myself personally I use Surfline.com, a surf forecast site that requires Flash in order to view the surf cameras and other content. Surfline should probably update their site to something else (HTML 5 anyone?), but in the meantime I have Flash enabled for that and a few other websites.
However, as Brian Krebs of Krebs On Security noted, in his experiment in going 30 days without flash on his browser, he encountered only 2 instances where Flash was necessary. In those instances you could theoretically open the content in a separate Flash-enabled browser.
This July things started to heat up when Firefox started to block Flash by default. Other browsers followed suit, and Facebook even called out Adobe to set a “kill by” date for the beleaguered software.
In order to disable Flash in your particular browser, you can follow this guide from HowToGeek. But what if you’re just too lazy, or you know that certain sites that you like to visit NEED Flash?
There are a few options. One is to just do nothing and acknowledge the risks. Ensure that Flash can be updated automatically so that you don’t forget. Simply go into the Flash Player and ensure that this setting is checked.
Another option is to enable the built in plugin “Click To Play” in your browser. This plugin will actively block all Flash content unless you click on it. In order to enable this feature in your particular browser, head over to this blog post from Krebs On Security. On my own version of Firefox this was enabled automatically, however you might want to double check if you have an older version.
On that note, I highly recommend that you allow your internet browser to automatically update as well. Keeping all of your software up to date is the best defense against hacking and internet crime.
Another advantage of disabling Flash is that it will be easier on the batter life of your devices. I know for a fact that Flash is a battery killer for my Surface Pro 4. (I have also installed Adblock Plus in order to combat battery-sucking advertisements that I am constantly being subjected to – I highly recommend it to everyone).
Have you successfully cut the cord from Flash? What has your experience been like? Leave a comment below.