Want to do one single, simple thing to drastically improve your security during advent?
Just turn off Flash.
Turning off Flash deprives malware writers of one of their favourite toys and stops con artists preying on your hair trigger for Flash security updates by using them as camouflage for malware.
By happy coincidence it also deprives marketeers and advertisers of one of their most annoying toys (anyone remember splash screens?), stops them from tracking you across multiple browsers with Flash cookies and makes you far harder to fingerprint online too.
And as if those weren’t reasons enough, your battery will probably send you a Christmas card too because, as one wag put it, Flash is just the internet’s way of reminding you that your laptop has a fan.
It might seem difficult at first but remember that iPhone and iPad users have been Flash-free from the get-go and they seem more than
a little smug happy with their lot.
If you still can’t see the writing on the wall consider that Adobe, the maker of Flash, is airbrushing the name out of existence and that even its newly monikered Adobe Animate software thinks you should seriously consider HTML5 as an alternative.
So go on, annoy some hackers and give your laptop fan the day off.
Images of Christmas tree and Advent calendar courtesy of Shutterstock.
13 comments on “Advent tip #7: Do I really still need Flash? Probably not…”
How do I ‘turn off Flash’ if I keep getting a message telling me I can’t view the latest football match on BT Sport/Sky Sport, watch videos on You Tube or watch news videos on my favourite online newspaper sites unless I install Flash? Does your ‘turn off Flash’ mean uninstall it, or not? If you’re going to ask us to do something, tell us what we need to do in order to get the same service we get with Flash turned on. I’m using a MacBook Pro 2015.
Okay then. Help me out here. How can my users run starfall without Flash?
I’m pretty sure I put in the URL [URL removed]. Was it changed?
Yes it was. We remove URLs from comments during moderation as a matter of course.
Tried but majority of websites still require it. Better to install a browsed plugin that gives you the option to use flash when needed.
How do I turn it off? Is there a browser setting i need to change? Can you please give instructions for this?
A lot of websites have pages that won’t display at all if you don’t have Flash enabled. Can you please address this issue? Right now, have it set to ask me if I want to enable it, and I do only on web pages I really need to access, but can’t if it’s disabled.
So many sites are moving away from Flash, though with notable exceptions being the BBC and various newspapers, that it is no longer necessary to have it installed at all. Having had Flash switched off by default for years in all my browsers, earlier this year I took the plunge and removed Flash completely from my laptop. Do I miss it? No, not really. I used to use it only for listening to the occasional BBC sci-fi radio drama, but I can live without that.
If you are on Chrome, install the Flashcontrol extension. That way, everything is auto blocked but if you need it you can selectively turn it on with one click.
You’ll need to set Flash for Click-to-Play.
This way Flash doesn’t run automatically- it prompts you to let it run when you have Flash content on a page.
Howtogeek has a great guide on how to do this for every browser.
Yeah, how come nakedsecurity has recently started asking me if it can enable Flash player?
If anyone uses firefox install noscript and you will be able to control what is run on your browser and you can watch video’s on youtube be using the add on HTML5 video everywhere
hope this helps and keep up the good work team Sophos.
If any readers are still not convinced that it’s time to dump Flash, read this… http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/12/08/78_flash_bug_patches/