Throughout the early to late 2000’s, Adobe Flash Player was a must-have plug-in for every computer. Without it, users couldn’t play web-based games, watch videos on YouTube, or even visit certain websites. Now, the world has moved away from Flash a little bit, making it nowhere near as necessary as it once was.
In fact, many people are downright against Adobe Flash Player these days, citing it as unsafe. Others argue that Flash Player is fine, and that detractors are overreacting. So, is Adobe Flash Player safe or not?
Find the answer to this question and more below in our guide to Adobe Flash Player.
What Is Flash Player?
Adobe Flash Player is a web browser plug-in for PC and Mac that allows users to view and use content made with Adobe Flash.
Content made through Adobe Flash is formatted in SWF (Shockwave Flash Format). These files cannot be opened without Adobe Flash Player. SWF files often contain animation, audio, and technically-heavy elements that simply weren’t supported by browsers back when Flash reigned king.
What Is Flash Player Used For?
These days, Flash Player isn’t used for much. Modern browsers can run apps that used to require Flash without any trouble, like YouTube.
However, Flash used to be used for tons of processes across the web. It was used to play Flash games on sites like Miniclip and Newgrounds.com, run YouTube videos, ads, and Flash videos, and run certain graphical interfaces on websites. With Adobe Flash, programmers could add interactive elements to their websites that they couldn’t otherwise.
Now, HTML5 — the standard coding system used for web development — can do almost everything Adobe Flash could. This is why Adobe discontinued Adobe Flash Player in 2017. You can still download and install Flash to your machine, but the company is not updating or maintaining it anymore.
Is Adobe Flash Player Safe?
Many people today claim that Adobe Flash Player is unsafe to use. But what do they mean by this?
Some believe that Adobe Flash Player has security issues that hackers can take advantage of. There are certain vulnerable holes in Flash’s security system, which a hacker can use to put pop-up ads and malware onto users’ machines.
The problem is that Flash opens a .dll file to run. .dll files access your computer’s memory. Potentially, you can open a modified .dll file through a sketchy Flash site and infect your computer with viruses and access your PC’s memory.
If a hacker accesses your computer’s memory, they can take control of the computer entirely. Doesn’t sound too safe, does it?
Is It Too Dangerous to Use Flash?
While it might sound scary to use Flash in this case, you likely don’t have to worry too much.
As long as you’re browsing a trusted Flash-enabled website, you’re likely going to be okay. These web hosts vet their files before letting you access them, ensuring no viruses will get through.
If a website asks you to enable Flash Player, make sure you know the website beforehand. Perform a quick Google search asking whether the site is safe. If it’s not a site you visit regularly, think twice before giving it access to your Flash Player.
Do I Need Adobe Flash Player?
The chances are, you do not need Flash Player in 2020 and beyond.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use Flash Player in 2020. There are still websites that use Adobe Flash Player — namely, classic Flash game websites. If you want to play some Flash games to bring up old nostalgia, or simply kill some time, you might need Flash Player on your machine.
You may also need Flash Player for older websites, however, most have moved on to HTML5. At this point, Flash Player is a vehicle for old web nostalgia more than anything. If you want to learn how to enable Adobe Flash Player on your Chrome browser, you can learn how here: https://setapp.com/how-to/enable-flash-player-on-chrome.
What Happened to Adobe Flash Player?
So, why did people move away from Flash Player in general?
A big reason for the move from Flash Player came in 2010, when Steve Jobs released his letter ‘Thoughts on Flash.’ In the letter, Steve Jobs talks about the downfalls of Adobe Flash and why he wouldn’t allow Apple devices to support it. He talks about how it eats battery, crashes too much, doesn’t work on mobile devices well, and how HTML5 can do everything Flash can.
What’s more, Jobs also cited the security issues of Flash as a reason for leaving it behind. Jobs’ letter created a lot of uncertainty around Flash, acting as a major blow to its userbase. Internet users were transitioning to mobile devices at this time, and without Flash, a lot of applications wouldn’t work.
From there, HTML5 stepped in and took over, leaving to Flash’s complete retirement by 2017.
Adobe Flash Player: Play It Safe
If you want to make a visit to Adobe Flash necessary websites, it’s important to ask yourself: Is Adobe Flash Player safe or not? Now that you know the answers, you can make that decision for yourself.
Adobe Flash Player may have some security issues, but as long as you stick to trusted websites you should be fine. To make yourself as safe as possible, learn how to disable and enable Flash Player when it’s not in use. That way it won’t run in the background, opening you up to further threats.
Like everything else on the web, use caution and safety and you’ll be okay.
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