Flash could soon be no more, with the graphics-based animation software coming under increasing threat from big players in the technology world that want to see it killed off. Mozilla has moved to block all versions of the Flash plugin from running on the Firefox browser. The head of security for Facebook wants Adobe, the company behind Flash, to get rid of it completely. Flash has been a popular platform among those involved in, for example, video production and games development.
It is no surprise to see the likes of Mozilla and Facebook calling for the end of Flash. A number of vulnerabilities in the software have been highlighted in recent times as being actively exploited for malicious intention. Adobe has been struggling to cope with the sheer volume of bugs and vulnerabilities inherent in Flash.
Users of Firefox are no longer able to use Flash as default software and are instead getting a warning message that reads: “Flash is known to be vulnerable. Use with caution.” The use of Flash in default mode will remain unavailable to Firefox users until such time as Adobe moves to patch the bugs and update the plugin.
Alex Stamos, head of security at Facebook, has called for the setting of a date by which time Flash will be killed off. He wants the technology sector to be given the necessary time to make the switch away from Flash.
Alternatives to Flash are available, with video streaming services such as Netflix choosing instead to use the Microsoft platform Silverlight. The problem is that some browsers, such as Google Chrome, have rejected Silverlight, so some video streaming services are having to use HTML5 instead. The switch to native HTML5 in respect of the bulk of Flash uses is not an issue per se, but some services requiring digital rights management in order to secure licences have been resistant to the changeover.
A decision by Facebook to get rid of Flash completely would be a powerful message going out to the rest of the industry. The likes of Google and Apple, which blocked Flash from its iPhone and iPad devices, have already embraced securer technologies, so Adobe is under real pressure.