Guide: How to Dis­able Flash and Enjoy Browsing

Back in the days, Adobe’s Flash ruled the Internet. Everything from the tacky animations to navigation is built on Flash. Not to mention the millions of small browser games. This was, of course, before the smartphones took over. Steve Jobs openly banned Flash from iOS devices (and it won’t install on Macs). Android soon followed its lead and just about everything mobile web was Flash-free. To turn off or not to turn off? But that is correct mobile web. Of course, the fact that developers use HTML to code up responsive, mobile-First websites means that the benefits have clearly been transferred to the web in general. Yet many things on desktop web pages do run on Flash. Recently, there has been a movement online to kill Flash once and for all – Occupy Flash. I do not make a joke. It is a real movement. They have a manifesto and a website and things. It’s like Occupy Wall Street, but this time it could actually work.

But why does everyone suddenly want to kill Flash? What has it ever done to them or to us? Can we, the people who essentially spend 8 hours a day in the browser, live without it? Read on to find out.

Why Flash Should Go

It’s not that Flash is clunky and not modern or sophisticated. Numerous legacy software still exists. It’s that Flash has just gone from annoying to downright dangerous. We all know Flash is a battery and performance hog, especially when flash games or apps are poorly coded. It started when the Hacking Team discovered leaks. The company known for producing malware and selling it to the highest bidder appeared to be exploiting a vulnerability in Flash that immediately put millions of users around the world at risk. When the reports came out, Adobe quickly released fixes. But a few days later, new vulnerabilities surfaced and let me tell you that this is not going to end. Since then, Facebook’s Chief of Security has called for Flash’s demise. Even Mozilla has said they will disable Flash until Adobe fixes all major vulnerabilities that have recently come to light. – Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) July 12, Remember that we as consumers only become aware of the vulnerabilities when a hacker / media organization detects them. Much more is happening in the background. And because Flash is a proprietary format, we’ll never really feel safe with it. – Mark Schmidt (@MarkSchmidty) July 14 Yes, even if we get rid of everything else and just look at it from a security standpoint, Flash should go away. Force HTML5: While YouTube has now largely switched to HTML5 videos, there may still be times (possibly on other sites) when you see Flash videos when an HTML5 alternative clearly exists. At those times, try these extensions to force the website to load HTML5 content.

Can Desktop Users Live Without Flash?

This is the interesting question and the answer, as always, comes down to – “depends”. But let me explain further. The largest sources of videos – YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook do not rely on Flash. And most websites do not use Flash more. I disabled Flash a few days ago and whenever I came across Flash-based content I didn’t care. It was either an embedded video in an article from a major news site, or one of the annoying auto-play video ads on sites. An in-line video that I didn’t care much about, blocked because I disabled Flash. If you feel like taking the plunge, type “chrome: // plugins” into Chrome’s omnibox and disable Adobe Flash Player from the plugins list. If you have Flash installed on your computer, follow these guides to remove it from your Mac or Windows PC.

It is important to note that the Chrome version of Flash is a sandbox. In it, it runs in its own little environment in Chrome and the code is not spread across your operating system. This means that the chances of infection when using Chrome’s built-in Flash are much less.

Flash when you want

This is the perfect compromise. Flash stays far away most of the time, so you won’t drain your battery and have security issues. But if you To do want, it’s just a click away. Most modern browsers have click-to-play feature when it comes to plugins and the same can be achieved for Flash too.

So for instance in Chrome, instead of disabling Flash, go to Settings -> Show advanced settings and from Privacy click on Content Settings and scroll down to Plugins. Here, select Let me choose when to run plugin content. For a comprehensive look at how to do this in all major browsers, have a look at this guide at How-To Geek.

You should try it Up

Seriously, the days of Flash are near. I’m just waiting for Chrome to make a move. Once Google does that, Flash is as good as dead. But we can all do our part in the process of killing Flash and seeing it replaced by HTML5 or some other open source technology. And it starts by disabling Flash. – InfoSec Taylor (@SwiftOnSecurity) July 13 Busy Flash.

How to Dis­able Flash and Enjoy Browsing: benefits


Final note

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