Thursday last week saw the fourth emergency security update to Adobe Flash in as many months. All updates combined are responsible for plugging what is now a total of 107 holes with last week’s update responsible for 36 of those all on it’s own and one of which it is known can be used to crash or even take complete control of an infected computer.
This is nothing new and having frequently been exploited by online criminals for the purpose of infecting the innocent users of the internet (including infection by the Locky Ransomware virus) it’s already tarnished reputation is showing no signs of improving any time soon. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this has lead to many doubting whether or not they really need Adobe Flash at all. So there in lies the question. Should we update flash now or uninstall it altogether?
Should I uninstall Flash altogether?
Ideally yes. However, as I suspect the case is with most, you’re probably using it more than you realise. For example, certain videos published to both Facebook and YouTube still utilise Flash not to mention those online flash games popular with kids and even those looking for a little mind-numbing fun during their lunch break.
If you think you can do without then there are no two ways about it, get rid now. After all having Flash installed will be doing nothing more than to increase the risk of you getting infected. Instructions on how to uninstall Flash altogether can be found here for PC and here for Mac.
If as is most likely, you do still need it or if you’re unsure then read on.
OK. So how do I update Flash?
So as I thought you do still have a need for Flash and while that’s OK it is absolutely imperative that you update it now and continue to do so on a regular basis.
If you’re fortunate enough to have your computer covered by either our ByteSafe Silver, Gold or Platinum packages then the good news is you needn’t do anything as we’ve got it covered. As of approximately one month ago we added functionality to ensure that any commonly used 3rd party application (Flash, Java, Chrome etc) suffering a zero-day vulnerability would be updated ASAP.
A zero day vulnerability is a security hole in an application that is unknown to it’s vendor. This security hole is then exploited by hackers before the vendor is even aware. Once made aware the vendor then hurries to fix it.
With our ears always firmly to the ground the moment we catch wind of a zero-day and an update has been released all systems covered by ByteSafe Silver, Gold or Platinum are patched at best the same day if not the following morning (or the next time the system is switched on).
If you’re not covered (feel free to get in touch to discuss our packages in more detail) then you’re going to need to apply these updates yourself. It’s worth noting that Google Chrome includes it’s own version of Flash player and so you’ll need to update Chrome itself to ensure your patched. Alternatively if you use a browser other than chrome click here for instructions on updating.
What does the future hold for Flash?
The writing is already on the wall and with Google having already started the ball rolling I suspect to see others do the same within the coming months. To a hacker Flash has proven to be the gift that just keeps on giving and so as we already have viable alternatives to Flash there is little excuse that we continue using it for much longer.