Just as Google’s Android platform has officially dropped support for Adobe Flash, more security issues have emerged for the software that’s still widely used on the Web.
As reported in PCWorld, Adobe’s quarterly update to patch Flash wasn’t enough to cover all of the vulnerabilities being exploited by hackers. It had to push out another update one week later to properly secure the software. Flash has been one of the most commonly exploited pieces of software for the last several years. Its popularity and integration into every Web browser make it a prime target for hackers.
While Android first offered Flash as a way to stand apart from Apple’s iPhone, which never integrated the software because of Steve Jobs’ well-known criticism of the standard’s efficiency, Flash just never shone on a mobile device. Dynamic interfaces that look slick on a desktop are buggy and awkward on a mobile phone, and users are often left waiting a long time to load Flash multimedia files.
Much of Flash’s dynamic Web functionality is now being replaced by HTML5 and CSS3. But just because Android users can’t download Flash from Google Play any longer, doesn’t mean they can’t use it.
Users who’d installed Flash previously, for example, will not have the app killed on their devices and will continue to see Flash content working. Then there’s users who will root their devices, installing a modded version of Android and side-loading the old Flash app via an external memory card or USB connection.
But as Adobe stops its updates for the mobile version of Flash, having it installed could prove risky. Hackers will inevitably find more vulnerabilities to exploit, and then release malware based on that, in hopes of hitting users with the old software still installed. It’s typically PC users who haven’t bothered updating their browser or third-party software that run into virus problems. Now Android users have to be aware of the same issue.
Sorry Flash enthusiasts, it might be time to let that app go from your mobile device and load those Flash sites on your desktop computer instead.