I was under the impression that Adobe Flash was dead, and that browsers were no longer natively supporting Flash? Why therefore, is there a large amount of hype online about a new remote code execution vulnerability in flash?
41Browsers still support it, they just disable it by default except for whitelisted domains, and allow the user to selectively enable it as needed for other domains.– BarmarApr 11, 2018 at 21:32
2Some people play every game they can find online, including Flash games like AntBuster and Manufactoria. It's not just Flash games by the way: android apps, android games, games from a bribed company, ...– user21820Apr 12, 2018 at 6:04
14Even when browser publishers will finally completely stop supporting it sometime in the future, and most already disable it by default, there are many (mostly not technically versed) people who for whatever reason disable updates or even just decline whenever the update message opens, and thus stay on years old browser and plugin versions.– Raimund KrämerApr 12, 2018 at 6:35
2Companies can use HTML 5 to do everything Flash Player can do, but they have to learn different ways of doing things in order to do so. It's cheaper to keep using Flash. It's better and more secure to use HTML 5 techniques, but I'm sure there are some vulnerabilities there, as well.– Joshua NurczykApr 12, 2018 at 7:50
5Why therefore, is there a large amount of hype online - remember that a big part of the hype is various "security experts" trying to promote their "expertise" by writing scary articles about this new vulnerability. And then low grade tech journalists pick up the fake hype to write tons of articles on the subject. In the end you get the impression that its a big issue even if its not a big deal in the first place.– JonathanReezApr 13, 2018 at 3:01
The short answer is that it takes a loooooong time for software to die. Even in 2018 we still have COBOL running multi-billion dollar companies, despite COBOL being a "dead" language for decades.
The longer answer is there's still a significant amount of websites that require Flash, and people re-enable Flash for practical reasons.
Oftentimes these are "mission critical" internal corporate websites or schools that haven't put a priority on replacing legacy applications based on Flash. This might mean using older browsers where Flash isn't disabled, or just users being trained to re-enabled it every time.
Across the board, the numbers as of April 2018 are around 5% of websites according to https://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cp-flash/all/all
So I wouldn't say Flash is "dead", but it is slowly dying.
29In Korea, there are still sites that require Flash to function, and many that even require ActiveX to function at all! Imagine the horror, a site built entirely off of something like that, in 2018.– forestApr 11, 2018 at 23:06
325% of websites is still an incredibly huge number Apr 12, 2018 at 8:25
21The death of COBOL is greatly exaggerated. I still see plenty of job posting for COBOL developers.– ClearerApr 12, 2018 at 13:16
55@Clearer: half of them is just retirement homes searching for new occupants.– PlasmaHHApr 12, 2018 at 13:45
14Worse than legacy applications are the legacy devices. At my job, we have tens of thousands of dollars invested in hardware devices that can only be managed via built-in web interfaces using Flash, Java or ActiveX components. It's a nightmare.– jmbpianoApr 12, 2018 at 16:46
Because it's not completely "dead". It's just suppressed, for example, in Chrome the user has to click to allow Flash.
Google has said that by 2020 it will not support Flash at all.
5It's not just Google. Adobe is EOLing flash at the end of 2020. Mozilla is planning on removing it from the mainstream Firefox browser in mid 2019, with the ESR version keeping it alive until the start of 2021. theblog.adobe.com/adobe-flash-update developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Plugins/Roadmap Apr 12, 2018 at 19:07
Unfortunately, a lot of corporate software or internal websites still require Flash for various things (and not necessarily a recent version that may have some patches). If a company decides that their internal application requires a five-year-old version of Flash to simply work, they're not going to patch it.
That leaves an awful lot of software and sites that are likely vulnerable to any new attacks based on Flash.
2Also, there is a lot of long-term-investment hardware (think LOM cards in servers, RAID appliances networking, UPS and telecom equipment...) that relies on java and/or flash in its web interfaces. This stuff is usually packed away in a firewalled mainentance network, and you do usually NOT want to mess with its firmware images (especially if that stuff is infrequently accessed, and ways to work it with are part of emergency documentation). A frequent reason to have very, very violent attitudes about "no user recourse" browser security policies. Apr 12, 2018 at 18:49
There's nothing quite like seeing Edge's "you've stumbled across some ancient web tech" message on your company intranet homepage.– mbrigApr 13, 2018 at 17:40
Flash is still used on webapps like Mint (investment trends) and TeamViewer. Apr 25, 2019 at 18:01
Adobe is still releasing new updates to their Flash editor (now named Animator), and new versions of their Flash player. I think the Flash player updates are less noticeable (working in the background) so we don't notice how often they update now.
They also have their AIR player for mobile phones (the core of Flash is downloaded to a phone once, so apps don't have to include the core, and AIR becomes its own cross-platform marketplace).
It seems like they are trying to migrate many aspects of Flash/Animator to HMTL5/CSS3/JS, I suspect in large part due to waning browser support.
Many browser games were made in Flash, and Adobe still has its Game SDK, which uses Flash for graphical assets.
2Indeed, my small company has been working on converting our Flash-based game to HTML5/JS for the past couple of years. We have most of the major features replicated, but still have a huge number of little things remaining.– BarmarApr 11, 2018 at 21:43
Several entertainment websites still support and perhaps will continue supporting Flash games despite security concerns, since they are likely to be their largest source of revenue:
- Newgrounds is probably one of the oldest references in the market (1997 Cat Dynamics, oldest content I found) and even though they now support HTML games submissions and their audio content is played through HTML, Flash is still commonly used to submit new content.
- Tencent, the "Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate" developing WeChat (the most popular social media app in China nowadays), just in 2015 acquired the majority of stakes of Miniclip (Flash games only), despite having their own games website.
- many games websites still heavily rely on Flash for PC, e.g.: R2Games (Chinese), VNG Corporation (Vietnamese), Tacticsoft (Israel), Albino Blacksheep (Canada), FlashArcade (US?)
In order to play most of the games in these websites, the user just needs to:
Which is something that even in most public computers is possible (no installation required since it's embedded in the browser). Usability/quick access trumps security concerns when users are on limited/paid time cybercafés.
I work for a company that is a partnered with a large agricultural company. Said Ag company uses Flash for all their web based applications. Even newly (less than 6 months) released applications. Unfortunately, many companies don't see the negative sides of using a known vulnerable application and will continue to use it as they have invested time and money into it and want to get a return on it.
In Australia, until recently, the tax office (and other government orgs) were best accessed through Internet Explorer 8! Thankfully, they have changed and Chrome/Firefox work just as well but it shows you can't take the knowledge that something is bad as a sign that everyone will dump it.
All in all, it means we have to care about the dodgy applications that are out there as its better to be aware and patched/mitigated than to get bitten.