A recently security flaw in Adobe Flash may offer users one more reason to stop using the software. Earlier this month, hackers used the popular web player to either crash or take control of computers.
According to a report by Trend Micro, the targets of the attackers were foreign affair ministries whose workers were sent "phishing emails that contained links leading to the exploit". Each of those URLs contained innocuous titles referencing ongoing current events such as the war in Afghanistan, Ukraine and Syria. Those who clicked on those links instantaneously surrendered control to the hackers. The publication also noted the recent attack was similar to that of the Flash zero-day exploit that targeted NATO and the U.S. White House earlier in April.
Due to the extensive use of Flash player, the issue affected some platforms including Windows, Mac and Linux. Many reputable websites such as the BBC, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, NBC and CBS use Adobe Flash player. Fortunately, the recent hacking action seemed to be focused on government agencies rather than individuals. However, Adobe quickly issued a patch to fix the Flash Player vulnerability.
"These updates address critical vulnerabilities that could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system," the Adobe announcement read. "Adobe is aware of a report that an exploit for CVE-2015-7645 is being used in limited, targeted attacks, and recommends users update their product installations to the latest version using the instructions referenced in the security bulletin."
Despite the quick fix, some publications have urged web-surfers to consider discontinuing using Adobe Flash altogether. Many major sites are already moving away from Adobe Flash. In January 2015, YouTube decided to drop Flash for HTML5 as the default video format. A few months later in July, Twitch followed suit as well. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs more famously denounced Flash Player and vowed never to include the video format in the iPad and iPhone series.
According to NeuroGadget, Adobe Flash Player also uses too much power, which is detrimental to laptop users. The publication also noted that the reason websites continued using Flash were because there was no better alternative for streaming animation and graphics. However, technology has changed, and there are better alternatives out there such as HTML5.
With those options available, it may be time to uninstall completely from the system Adobe Flash Player once and for all. Instructions to do so can be found on Adobe's official help site.