Removing Flash from your PC: Plug-in now unsafe


We have long relied on the Adobe Flash Player for interactivity and multimedia on web pages. But that period is now also far behind us. Support for the plugin has stopped since today. In this article we will discuss what that means and how you can remove Flash.

As early as 2017, Adobe announced the end of Flash. Now the company actually stops supporting the software and no more (security) updates appear for it. Flash will therefore be completely blocked by the well-known browsers in the coming year. Incidentally, they have worked against the installation and its use in recent years.

A long history precedes it. Since the late 1990s, Adobe Flash has actually been the only well-supported way to include interactive elements in a web page, such as animations, music, games, and videos. Interactive elements such as menus were also usually made with Flash, just like flashy advertising banners and even complete websites in the heyday.

The biggest motivation was video. For example, until 2015, Flash was used as a player for YouTube. Other video platforms, such as from television providers, also relied heavily on the technology. Until a few years ago, Flash was used there, but also on many (news) sites such as CNN, for video playback.

In addition, many Flash-based game websites have been launched, which were extremely popular due to the accessibility and convenience of a browser.

Why is the curtain falling for Flash?

Not only were beautiful creations produced based on the then groundbreaking Flash. There has always been a downside too. Flash has a long history of security vulnerabilities, with a low point in 2015 when 329 vulnerabilities were found. In recent years they can be counted on the fingers of one hand, but that does not make them any less serious.

Some recent vulnerabilities allowed attackers to run code with the rights of the logged in user. In the worst cases, hackers could even take full control of systems through Flash content. Ransomware was also distributed several times via Flash banner advertisements.

What didn’t make it any better is that it often took about two months for gaps to be plugged, and then it took a lot of time for users to actually install the updates.

Flash was also not always stable and efficient, and – partly because of this – was never really viable on mobile. In fact, it was banned by Apple from iPhones and iPads from the very beginning. Incidentally, almost single-handedly by the late Steve Jobs, who defended this choice in a famous open letter.

Successors are already there

The role of Flash has been taken over by HTML5 and other open standards. For animations and videos, Flash hardly has any right to exist. Everything works without plug-ins, the technology is already in the browser. Yet there are still many websites that (partly) rely on Flash. The majority of these will be websites that are not (anymore) maintained.

Websites that are maintained will have long since switched or are still working hard on it. You will therefore probably not notice it when you remove Flash from your system.

You’ve probably even been working without it for a while. Flash has been disabled by default in browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and the new Chromium-based Edge for a while – for security reasons.

To be able to play Flash content you must explicitly indicate this via the settings. But even then, manual approval is always required for every Flash component you encounter.

Okay, so you rarely need Flash, but it does pose a bit of a security risk to your system. Therefore, three ways to remove Flash, or to further restrict the start of the plug-in of your browser.

Remove Flash from Windows

If you want to remove Flash, you can start by removing the Flash plug-in on Windows, if you have it installed. That is the plug-in used by browsers such as Firefox and Opera.

To do this, go to Windows in Settings, Apps and seek you Adobe Flash Player on. Click on it and choose remove. Or download the official one Flash uninstaller from Adobe and run it.

Flash settings Firefox

Removing the plug-in from Windows will prevent browsers such as Firefox and Opera from displaying Flash content. Do you still want that now and then? Then you can limit the use of Flash via the settings.

Open the menu in Firefox. Then go to Add-ons, Plug-ins. If you see Flash in the list, you can choose between using the menu with the three dots Ask to activate and Never activate. The latter option is of course the safest.

Have you always kept Firefox up to date? Then you may not see this option anymore. With the release of version 84 of Firefox this month, support for Flash was discontinued completely.

Flash settings Chrome and Edge

Chrome has a built-in Flash Player and with the default settings it also keeps it up-to-date. To view the settings, visit the address chrome: // settings / content. Scroll to Flash. Here you can choose between Do not allow sites to run Flash, which effectively blocks the Flash content, or Ask firstwhereby permission is first requested.

It works similarly in the new Chromium-based Edge. You go to via the menu Settings and then choose Site Permissions. Bee Flash you see the option by default Always block flash.

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